The DHH (Department of Health and Hospitals in Louisiana) is continuing to abuse its power, trying to close abortion clinics. This time, DHH is creating an artificially complex regulatory framework that specifically targets clinics.
Though the DHH says otherwise, these new rules are not meant to protect women. Instead, they make it hard, if not impossible, for abortion clinics to stay open. The result: women in Louisiana will still have the right to a legal abortion but no way to exercise that right. (More about the rules)
All this unnecessary red tape and paperwork (normally hated by conservatives) will leave Louisiana women at risk. Wealthy women will always have the option to leave the state. But women without resources, the least able to cope with an unwanted pregnancy in the first place, will be left to the mercy of an out of control state government. The same government that has been working to defund pre- and post-natal care for women and families, or public education opportunities for children either, for that matter.
This does not seem like a case of right-sizing government. Conservative legislators seem to be picking and choosing when to support the free market and when to hamstring it. In fact DHH is doing its best to stop Planned Parenthood’s efforts to open a clinic serving the women of New Orleans. (More about the clinic fight)
Did you know that Louisiana has some of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections in the country, and 58 percent of pregnancies are unintended in our state? The new Planned Parenthood clinic would help make a dent in these statistics, as it would offer necessary reproductive health services like birth control access and STD screenings. In this case, they would provide low cost services, stepping in where the state has failed. Low income women would benefit from the same access that women with more resources take for granted.
The tactic DHH is using to stop this clinic, the “Needs Review”, has only ever applied to entities that accept state or federal dollars before. It’s now being used as a convenient excuse to prevent clinics from opening. It’s a neat trap: DHH uses the new, complex regulations to force clinics into a “Needs Review”, and then denies the license.
The most shameful part is the time, money and useless regulations being used to keep women from their rights, instead of making Louisiana a better place to live for ALL women and families. Under Governor Jindal, state-run facilities have cut back on services like vaccines and family planning, or even closed outright. Louisiana has cut money for STD prevention, despite having the second-highest rates of gonorrhea, the third-highest rates of syphilis, and the fourth-highest rates of chlamydia in the U.S. And of course, Louisiana has refused the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act that would have helped 422,000 families.
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