June 12, 2012 — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Thursday signed into law two bills that place further restrictions on abortion care in the state, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
The first bill (SB 708) requires that the fetal heartbeat be made audible for the woman and that an ultrasound be performed 24 hours before an abortion procedure, as opposed to the two hours currently required under state law.
In addition, a doctor must describe the ultrasound image to the woman (Adelson/Anderson, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 6/7). Louisiana already requires that the woman be asked if she wants to view the ultrasound image and receive a photo of it. Under the new law, women could opt out of hearing the heartbeat by signing a form (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/4). However, the only exceptions to the ultrasound provisions are in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to authorities.
The second piece of legislation (SB 330) states that only a physician can perform an abortion.
Both bills become law on Aug. 1, but SB 708 will not take effect until 60 days after that date to give the state Department of Health and Hospitals time to publish forms required by the legislation (New Orleans Times-Picayune, 6/7).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.