Louisiana passes law criminalizing possession of abortion pills without a prescription

(Washington) Elected officials in the conservative state of Louisiana, in the southern United States, on Thursday definitively approved a bill criminalizing the possession of abortion pills without a prescription.

The text, passed by the Louisiana Senate and House, classifies abortion pills as dangerous substances, a first in the country.

It is expected to be signed into law by Republican Governor Jeff Landry.

This vote comes at a time when the issue of abortion and reproductive rights is one of the key themes of the campaign for the presidential election in November, which will pit Democratic President Joe Biden against Republican Donald Trump.

The bill puts mifepristone and misoprostol, widely used for abortion, on the same level as Valium and Xanax.

Possession of these pills without a prescription would be punishable by jail time and several thousand dollars in fines. Licensed doctors would be exempt from prosecution, as would pregnant women if they possessed the drug for their own use.

Vice President Kamala Harris called the legislation “unconscionable” on Tuesday.

“Let’s be clear: it’s because of Donald Trump,” she added. The former president was the architect of the Supreme Court’s reversal on abortion in 2022, following which many states banned or restricted the right to abortion.

Louisiana thus prohibits almost all abortions.

The Supreme Court examined a case related to mifepristone in March, and most of its judges appeared resistant to reinstating restrictions on access to this pill.

A decision is expected by the end of June.

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