Governor Bobby Jindal today signed HB 636 by Rep. Frank Hoffmann into law, part of the Governor's 2011 legislative package which will protect the life of the unborn by requiring that women are informed of their specific legal rights and options before they undergo an abortion procedure.
Governor Jindal said, "We already make sure criminals know their rights. Before police arrest someone they inform them of all their rights under the law, so it's only common sense that we would do the same for women before they get an abortion. Women deserve to know their legal rights and the protections already afforded to them under the law, and we are confident that the more they know, the more they will choose life. We must foster an even greater culture of life in Louisiana -- one that recognizes that those who are last will be first, and that it is incumbent upon us to do everything we can to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us."
Rep. Hoffmann said, "I was proud to work with Gov. Jindal in passing HB 636 to protect Louisiana women and unborn children. This law will empower women who may be going through difficult circumstances -- and give them the tools needed to make the best possible decision. When an unplanned pregnancy occurs we want to let folks know there are plenty of resources available. We also want to let women know their legal rights so they aren't improperly forced into having an abortion. This bill will help accomplish that mission."
President of Louisiana Family Forum Gene Mills said, "Any step we can take forward in protecting the unborn is a good one - and this law serves as a great step in the right direction. There are a lot of facts that get lost in issues surrounding abortion, and it's important we inform women of their rights and let them know that many alternatives exist to abortion. I want to thank Governor Jindal and Rep. Frank Hoffmann for their hard work in making sure Louisiana is a state that continues to respect and value life."
Director of Communications and Public Policy for the Louisiana Baptist Convention Dr. John Yeats said, "The preservation of life must be a non-negotiable for our public leaders. This bill sends a powerful message that in Louisiana, we value the sanctity of life. Thanks to the hard work of Gov. Jindal and Rep. Frank Hoffmann, HB 636 provides women in crisis with more resources and more information in dealing with abortion and the potential alternatives."
Director of Louisiana Right to Life Benjamin Clapper said, "We commend Governor Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature for taking this important step toward protecting life in our state. This law clearly demonstrates that Louisiana's leaders hold its citizens as their first priority. Education is a component of the decision-making process, and there is no decision more important than deciding whether to end the life of an unborn child. Every woman deserves to have all the facts, and thanks to this law, our state's women will."
Senior Counsel for the Bioethics Defense Fund Dorinda C. Bordlee said, "We are very grateful for the active support of Governor Jindal's administration on this groundbreaking bill that will be a sign of hope for women and their unborn children. We are also thankful for the active support of Secretary Greenstein and look forward to assisting in the production of the website and mobile device site."
Dept. of Health and Hospitals Sec. Bruce Greenstein said, "This law is going to ensure that women in our state have all the facts before making this life-changing decision, and I am proud that our agency will play such an active role in educating women of their rights and what help is available."
Executive Director of the Life Choices Pregnancy Resource Center Lyndsey Sikes said, "When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she already faces so much uncertainty, but some things are absolute - no woman can be forced to have an abortion; adoptive parents are allowed to pay for pre-natal care, childbirth and newborn care; and assistance is available to help pregnant women carry to term and help after birth. As leaders, we must craft legislation that protects our citizens, and I applaud Governor Jindal and the Louisiana Legislature for making sure women in our state will now have access to this invaluable information."
Governor Jindal said the new law informs women, while protecting their safety and the lives of unborn children in four specific ways.
1. Any outpatient abortion facility will be required to post a sign in each patient admission area, waiting room, and patient consulting room outlining women's rights and their pregnancy resources.
The notice to women will read:
* You can't be forced. It is unlawful for anyone to make you have an abortion against your will, even of you are a minor.
* You and the father. The father of your child must provide support of the child, even if he has offered to pay for an abortion.
* You and adoption. The law allows adoptive parents to pay costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and newborn care.
* You are not alone. Many agencies are willing to help you carry your child to term, and to assist after your child's birth.
2. This law also requires these informational signs to include a link to a Department of Health and Hospitals' (DHH) website with even more information on abortion alternatives so women can learn about the medical assistance, pregnancy resources, free ultrasound services, and adoption services available to them. Abortion clinic websites will also be required to provide a link on their homepage to the DHH website listing abortion alternatives and the rights of mothers.
3. This law requires abortion facilities to inform any person seeking to schedule an abortion about the DHH abortions alternative website and other sites outlining the rights of mothers.
4. This new law makes it so that any outpatient abortion facility that knowingly employs a non-physician to perform an abortion may have their license revoked.
Jindal Record on Fostering a Culture of Life
* Since 2008, the Governor has proposed and signed a number of new laws to protect the life of the unborn. In 2009, Governor Jindal signed HB 517 into law, making Louisiana one of the few states in the nation that protect the rights of health care workers who refuse to participate in services that would violate their conscience -- including abortion, human embryonic stem cell research, human embryo cloning, and physician-assisted suicide.
* In 2010, Governor Jindal signed "The Right to Know Act" into law -- requiring an ultrasound at least two hours prior to an abortion and giving mothers the opportunity to view and hear characteristics of their unborn children.
* In 2010, the Governor signed a law to increase the Department of Health and Hospital's enforcement authority over outpatient abortion facilities. A facility that violates licensing rules or regulations may now have its license revoked. Additionally, an owner, manager, director or administrator of an abortion clinic that has their license revoked or gives it up to avoid adverse action may now be prohibited from working at another outpatient abortion clinic in Louisiana. DHH has already moved to revoke the licenses of two of the state's seven abortion facilities in the past two years.
* Additionally, DHH has used its new authority to immediately shutter facilities when licensure violations pose an immediate threat to women's safety.
* Governor Jindal signed a law in 2010 prohibiting the use of state taxpayer dollars toward abortions in health insurance exchanges, specifically recognizing in the law that unborn children are human beginnings at conception.
* Governor Jindal signed legislation making it illegal for anyone to force a mother to abort her baby, and also required that women under the age of 18 have at least the consent of one parent -- or a court order -- before an abortion procedure can be performed.