Louisiana governor signs bill classifying abortion pills as controlled substances into law

Louisiana governor signs bill classifying abortion pills as controlled substances into law
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(SHREVEPORT, La.) — Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry said Friday he has signed a first-of-its-kind bill making abortion pills controlled substances into law.

The law puts the abortion pill regimen — mifepristone and misoprostol — in the same category as opioids and other addictive medications.

“Requiring an abortion inducing drug to be obtained with a prescription and criminalizing the use of an abortion drug on an unsuspecting mother is nothing short of common sense,” Landry said in a statement posted on X. “This bill protects women across Louisiana and I was proud to sign this bill into law today.”

The law makes it illegal for people to possess the drugs without a prescription in Louisiana, which has a near-total ban on abortion. The bill does say the drugs can be used for non-abortion reasons and women will not be punished.

The bill will go into effect on Oct. 1.

The state Senate, which is more than 70% Republican, approved the bill, 29-7, on Thursday, two days after it passed the state House.

Under the law, possession of the medications without valid prescriptions or orders from medical professionals would be punishable by up to five years in prison with an exception for pregnant women in possession of the pills for their own consumption.

The bill creates a crime of “coerced criminal abortion” — prohibiting a third party from fraudulently using an abortion-inducing drug to cause or attempt to cause an abortion on an unsuspecting pregnant woman, without their knowledge or consent.

The law was created by state Sen. Thomas Pressly, whose pregnant sister’s husband tried to induce an abortion more than once, ultimately failing to abort the pregnancy, lawmakers said on the floor Tuesday.

“Coerced criminal abortion” is punishable by five to 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000 to $75,000 under the law.

The punishment is more severe for anyone found guilty of committing the crime on a pregnant woman who is more than three months pregnant. They could face 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine from $50,000 to $100,000, according to the bill.

A federal case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court also seeks to revoke the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone, the first pill taken in a two-drug regimen for a medication abortion. This could restrict nationwide access to the pill. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on the case by the end of June.

The regimen is currently federally approved to end pregnancies up to 11 weeks.

Estimates by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization supporting abortion access, found that 63% of abortions in 2023 were medication abortions.

ABC News’ Nadine El-Bawab contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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