Governor officially signs law to classify abortion drugs as controlled and dangerous substances

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Governor Jeff Landry signed a law classifying two abortion-inducing drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, as controlled and dangerous substances at a bill signing session today. He officially signed the measure last Friday. Bill sponsor Shreveport Senator Thomas Pressly explained the bill amid cries from his baby niece Josephine.

“We placed misoprostol and mifepristone into the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule IV drug,” he said.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, other Schedule IV drugs include Xanax, Ambien and Valium.

Pressly says he was inspired to sponsor the bill after what happened to his sister, Catherine Herring of Texas. When Herring was pregnant with Josephine, her husband attempted to slip her misoprostol in an unsuccessful effort to induce an abortion without her knowledge or consent. The law also lays out prison sentences for people who attempt to induce an abortion on another. According to the Associated Press, so far, Herring is the only known case of this happening.

More than 200 doctors signed a letter in opposition to the then-bill warning it could make it harder to prescribe the drugs,  which have other reproductive healthcare uses, and warned of a potential increase of maternal mortality rates in Louisiana. Pressly responded by saying, “[d]octors, nurse practitioners and physicians assistants will continue to be able to prescribe these medications for legitimate healthcare needs.” Pressly stressed that the drugs were not to be used for “elective” abortions.

Language in the law protects pregnant women who obtain the drugs without a prescription for personal use. The law has been hotly contested across the country, which Landry mentioned at the signing.

“Quite frankly, there has been a lot of misinformation around this country about this bill,” he said. “This is absolutely a pro-tective measure.”

The new law will take effect October 1st.

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