BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – As the legal fight over Louisiana’s abortion ban continues, there are already talks about future legislation being drafted to either amend or clarify the law.
Ever since the law went into effect, there has been confusion among some healthcare providers as to when the new legal parameters allow for an abortion.
Louisiana Right to Life, a group that played a critical role in drafting the legislation, said the law leaves the judgment for life-saving care up to doctors.
But abortion right’s advocates note that for some physicians, the threat of spending years in prison or paying steep fines triggers hesitation and a sense of uncertainty in the matter.
“The law repeatedly defers to the ‘good faith medical judgment’ of physicians in these emergency situations,” said Ben Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life.
Melissa Flournoy, the Board Chair for 10000 Women Louisiana, said the law is an overreach that impacts parents and physician’s right to make these difficult healthcare decisions. She hopes the law can be better clarified so doctors can quickly provide the care pregnant people need within the confines of the law.
It is not only emergency situations that create confusion and concern among doctors. The medically futile exceptions lay out a number of conditions that would make it difficult or impossible for a fetus to live outside the womb.
The Louisiana Department of Health recently took public comment on what should and should not be on the list. Several doctors and medical students testified regarding their concerns that a number of diagnoses had been left out, which would hinder a patient and doctor’s choices.
Right to Life also requested that two items be removed, claiming a fetus could have a chance at living outside the womb.
On the other hand, Right to Life is against the list of medical diagnosis exceptions as a whole. They initially opposed the addition to the original legislation when it was working through the legislature. Clapper said every child should get to live to their natural death.
“We would support removing the medical futile list. We are still figuring out what our priorities are for the next legislative session,” Clapper said.
Flournoy said there are already talks about adding legislation to provide exceptions for cases of rape and incest.
They also hope to gain some clarification on issues that doctors have faced firsthand since the ban was put in place.
The next legislative session does not begin until April 2023, so there will be some time before any bills are drafted and filed.