Possession of abortion drugs to be criminalized in Louisiana

Plus, the GOP undermines the border bill they initially helped author.

Top Headlines

On Thursday, Louisiana lawmakers approved a bill that would make abortion medications like mifepristone and misoprostol a controlled substance. Should Gov. Jeff Landry (R) sign the legislation into law, as expected, those found to have the medication in their possession without a prescription could face up to 10 years in prison.  

The bill, a first of its kind, would not penalize pregnant women, but would however clamp down on friends or relatives who procure the medication, as well as non-pregnant women who obtain it as a precaution. 

Pro-abortion advocates have spoken out against the bill. According to Petrice Sams-Abiodun, a spokesperson for the Gulf Coast chapter of Planned Parenthood, such legislative action "will make pregnancy and childbirth even more dangerous in a state that already suffers from the worst maternal health outcomes in the nation, especially for Black women and people in rural areas."

Louisiana has banned abortion in all cases with the exception of medical emergencies, and data published by the Center for Reproductive Rights has found that over 72% of women live in a parish that has no abortion clinic.

Policy Corner

Senate Republicans tank bipartisan immigration bill they demanded, helped write

On Thursday, Democrats restarted their new effort to legislate immigrant policy, which ultimately failed in the Senate after a 43-50 procedural vote. GOP senators like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) had spent much of the past week claiming the bill was not draconian enough and referred to a more hardline bill in the House as the “real border security bill.” Additionally, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) voted against a revised version of the bill that contains many of the provisions he personally implemented in a previous version of the bill late last year. 

In a statement last week, Lankford demanded Democrats “Stop doing all the political games.” 

“Let’s stop bringing up the messaging bills,” Lankford said. “This is a national emergency. Of the 5,500 people that crossed the border yesterday illegally, I haven’t seen the number yet, but I will tell you in all likelihood if it’s tracking similar to other days, several dozen of those folks were designated by the Department of Homeland Security, as Special Interest Aliens.”

He continued, “That is, they are coming from areas of known terrorism that were designated at the border as a potential national security risk, and then they were released into the country awaiting a hearing. And by this afternoon we’ll have no idea where they are.”

Both versions of the bill, the creation of which was initially seen as being a bipartisan affair, would have been the most substantial piece of federal immigration policy in decades. The legislation contained immediate, drastic action in limiting the number of migrants that would be allowed to enter the country via the asylum system, as well as deploying significantly higher numbers of border enforcement agents. 

On the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) explicitly name-checked Lankford and his role in the initial creation of the legislation. 

“There are more than enough Democratic Senators ready and willing to pass a strong bipartisan border security bill — a border security bill co-authored by a conservative Republican senator, Senator Lankford of Oklahoma, who has done extraordinary work crafting this legislation,” Ossoff said.  

“[It’s a] bill that would surge enforcement resources to the southern border, that would tighten asylum standards, that would expedite the removal of those who abuse asylum to enter our country unlawfully, that would hire urgently needed border patrol officers and take the fight to drug cartels flooding our communities with fentanyl.” 

Resistance by Republican lawmakers is rooted in former President Donald Trump’s explicit disapproval of handling the crisis before he hypothetically returns to office. 

However, it wasn’t just Republicans who expressed disinterest in negotiating on this particular bill. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) spoke out against the bill. 

“The Senate border bill once again fails to meet the moment by putting forth enforcement-only policies and failing to include provisions that will keep families together,” a CHC statement read. “As written, the bill excludes critical protections and legal pathways for families, farm workers and America’s Dreamers who have been in the U.S. contributing to our Nation's communities and economy for decades.”  

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Jamie Larson