Louisiana will become the sixth state to make women wait three days before they can get an abortion.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, signed House Bill 386 into law on Thursday to extend the waiting period from 24 hours to 72 from first consulting with a doctor before an abortion can be performed. The new law takes effect Aug. 1.
Anti-abortion activists hailed the extended waiting time as a “victory for women in Louisiana.”
“This important bill empowers women considering abortion with additional reflection time before an abortion so they can consider their options more effectively,” Louisiana Right to Life Legislative Director Deanna Wallace said in a statement. “Since abortion facilities in Louisiana are only in the business of selling abortion, this reflection period allows for further consideration of other choices, including adoption and parenting.”
As the bill weaved its way through the State Capitol, abortion-rights advocates described the effort as “condescending” and argued that it will create hurdles for women who have already made up their minds but have work or family commitments that may be disrupted by the three-day delay.
Like many other recent efforts to restrict abortion in Louisiana in recent years, the increased waiting time won broad bipartisan support among Louisiana lawmakers.
Two clinics — one in Shreveport and one in New Orleans — continue to perform abortions in the state.
Tripling the waiting period will put Louisiana with Missouri, Oklahoma, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah as having the nation’s longest mandatory waiting times. The longer wait time in Louisiana won’t apply to women who live more than 150 miles from an abortion clinic, but they will still be required to wait 24 hours.
Edwards, who made his anti-abortion stance part of his election platform, also signed legislation that will require doctors who perform abortions be either board certified or certifiable in obstetrics and gynecology or in family medicine. It also goes into effect Aug. 1.
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