State Rep. Katrina Jackson recently filed HB 388 which has the title of “The Unsafe Abortion Protection Act.” As originally reported by my friend Lamar White who blogs over at cenlamar.com, this anti-choice legislation is modeled on the Texas legislation Wendy Davis famously filibustered last year. Yet, this bill goes even further as it also calls for a database of women who take the “morning after pill,” also known as “Plan B,” which would also have to be prescribed by a physician instead of over the counter as it is currently available. Oh yeah, and the prescription would have to be reported to go into a database. You know, because conservatives oppose registering weapons because of “privacy” but “Plan B” which does NOT cause an actual abortion, oh no, we gotta register who uses that, privacy concerns be damned.
It seeks a change in the statutory definition of “first trimester” from “six to fourteen weeks” to simply “up to fourteen weeks.” In so doing, Representative Jackson’s bill would require the State of Louisiana, through the Department of Health and Hospitals, to maintain a database of women who have used the so-called “morning after pill” and, potentially, any other hormone or medication prescribed or administered shortly after a woman has sexual intercourse. It would also mandate that Plan B, which is now an over-the-counter medication, could only be prescribed by a physician with admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles. (Source)
“Of course that’s what we have come to expect from Republicans. They can’t mind their own business. They love small government but want it in your uterus,” loudly proclaimed a number of people who commented on the article while obviously not bothering to read past the headline on Facebook. If they had read the entire article Lamar had painstakingly put together, they would have seen that Rep. Jackson is a Democrat. And if they had done some research they would also notice that she has a fairly progressive voting record, especially for someone from Monroe which was unknown to much of the country prior to last year’s Duck Dynasty nontroversy.
So why would someone who voted for women’s pay equality and reducing the penalties for marijuana possession float a bill that both violates a woman’s privacy and flies in the face of common sense? Well, this is Louisiana we’re talking about and unless you come from New Orleans, you have to toe the anti-abortion line drawn in the sand, or you will never get elected. You see, you can vote to legalize marijuana and you may upset the Baptists in the northern part of the state where she’s from, but a lot of the predominately Catholic southern part couldn’t care less. However, fail to sponsor or vote for anti-abortion legislation and your chances of returning to Baton Rouge after the next election are slim to none. This applies whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat from one of the reddest districts in the state of Louisiana. You simply cannot survive outside of New Orleans as a politician if you do not at least pay lip service to the religious right on abortion, and take lots and lots of money from out of district (and even out of state interests like JP Morgan Chase) as Rep. Jackson has done.
This legislation will almost assuredly pass and much like the Texas law, it will probably remain mostly intact even when appealed to federal court. I foresee the morning after pill part being struck down as it is a violation of privacy, but that’s pretty much it. Sadly, as long as the religious right and corporate interests control state politics here in Louisiana, or elsewhere across the South, the assault on women’s reproductive rights will not end. I urge you to contact Rep. Katrina Jackson and urge her to withdraw this bill. You can get in touch with her via the contact information in this link or you can let her know how you feel on her Facebook page or on Twitter as @RepKJackson. Let’s make sure we do everything we can to stop this ridiculous bill.
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