Louisiana Republicans move to criminalize abortion pills

Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Lawmakers in Louisiana approved a bill Tuesday that would criminalize possession of abortion pills without a prescription, a move criticized as "unconscionable" by Vice President Kamala Harris.

The abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol may soon be banned in Louisiana without a prescription – the latest blow to reproductive rights in the state.
The abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol may soon be banned in Louisiana without a prescription – the latest blow to reproductive rights in the state.  © Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

The bill, which still needs to pass the state senate, would see two types of medication become controlled substances at a time when abortion rights are being hotly debated ahead of November's presidential election.

Mifepristone and misoprostol, commonly used for abortions, would join the Schedule IV list in Louisiana – putting them on par with Valium and Xanax.

Possession of the medication without a prescription would be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, according to a text of the bill.

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Authorized medical practitioners would be exempt, as would pregnant people if they had the medication for their own use.

Kamala Harris responds to Louisiana abortion pill legislation

Vice President Kamala Harris has slammed the Louisiana abortion pill legislation as "unconscionable" and blamed Donald Trump for the backslide in reproductive rights.
Vice President Kamala Harris has slammed the Louisiana abortion pill legislation as "unconscionable" and blamed Donald Trump for the backslide in reproductive rights.  © TANNEN MAURY / AFP

Democrats believe hardline pro-abortion measures play against the Republicans electorally and have made it one of their key campaign issues.

"Absolutely unconscionable. The Louisiana House just passed a bill that would criminalize the possession of medication abortion, with penalties of up to several years of jail time," Harris wrote on X on Tuesday.

"Let's be clear: Donald Trump did this," added Harris, who has previously criticized Trump for boasting of his role in reversing Roe v. Wade, the federal guarantee of abortion rights that the Supreme Court overturned in 2022.

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Abortion is banned in Louisiana with only very limited exceptions in cases of risk to the mother's life or fetuses with fatal abnormalities.

President Joe Biden's re-election campaign said it would hold a virtual news conference on the Louisiana bill on Wednesday morning with a reproductive health legal expert and a woman who was denied healthcare when she miscarried in the state.

Trump told Time magazine in April that he had "pretty strong views" on women's access to mifepristone and would share his opinions within a week of the interview, but never did so.

The Republican candidate has given mixed signals on abortion. In March, he suggested he would favor a nationwide ban at 15 or 16 weeks of pregnancy but later backtracked to say such decisions should be left up to the states.

Cover photo: Anna Moneymaker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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