I found this on Twitter this morning and was shocked at how little attention it's gotten, although I see a few places like RH Reality Check have picked up the story this afternoon.
Just before Thanksgiving, the Louisiana Dept of Health and Hospitals (DHH) issued "emergency regulations" that overhauled existing regulations of abortion clinics in the state. These include new licensing procedures, changes in building square footage (for no discernible reasons) and even more egregious requirements from the patient.
According to the New Orleans Abortion Fund, which tweeted out the story this morning, patients will now be required to have blood work done THIRTY DAYS before the abortion:
Patients must have documented in their charts that hemoglobin and rh factor lab tests were performed at least 30 days prior to the abortion procedure. This means that some patients will risk being beyond the 20 week deadline in Louisiana to have an abortion, and will add to the procedure costs for all patients, as they will have to wait an additional month.As many health care professionals will tell you, a hemoglobin test 30 days before a procedure is all but worthless to a doctor, as the most current test is the one that gives you the most information. It's painfully obvious that it's nothing but another back door way to ban abortion and unlawful because it places an undue burden on the woman seeking an abortion.
From the RH Reality Check story on this:
“If these rules go into effect, the Department of Health and Hospitals will have the ability to start shutting clinics down just based on what the size of the facilities has always been,” said Ellie Schilling, a New Orleans attorney who represents several Louisiana abortion clinics. She discussed the most severe of the new regulations with RH Reality Check in advance of a DHH public hearing on abortion facilities in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.And I'm not finished yet- to add insult to injury,
Schilling says the new regulations appear to mirror legislative actions like those recently taken in Texas, which require abortion providers to make extensive physical plant modifications. Schilling also said Louisiana’s new rules severely limit abortion providers’ access to due process in appealing any citations or violations issued to them by DHH, and make it virtually impossible for abortion facility licensees to maintain licenses in good standing if facility ownership changes, or if facilities move locations. These specific new requirements are not, said Schilling, required by statute.
There is no right to appeal deficiencies to any unbiased body outside of the Department of Health and Hospitals.Although the "emergency rules" were listed as being effective November 30, 2013, there were no public hearings or indication of need.
However, there will be a hearing held on January 29th, and I encourage any of you that can attend to please do so, and make your voice heard:
A hearing will finally occur on Wednesday, January 29 at 9:30am in Room 118 of the Bienville Building in Baton Rouge. The New Orleans Abortion Fund and members of allied organizations will be testifying and presenting written comments from advocates, providers, and women who have recently obtained abortions at affected clinics at the public hearing.If you'd like to send an email or snail mail, the details are here:
If you cannot attend the hearing but would like to submit written comments, please email your letter, which MUST have your full name and address, to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, January 28 at 8:00pm CST. We will print it and hand-deliver it at the hearing.
If you prefer to mail your comments (please note they must be RECEIVED by January 30 at 4:30pm), you may send them to:
J. Ruth Kennedy
Bureau of Health Services Financing
PO Box 91030
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-0930