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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Louisiana imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Among the most common TRAP regulations are those restricting the provision of abortion services to hospitals or other specialized facilities, which place medically unnecessary and costly requirements on doctors and can decrease the availability of abortion care for women. Louisiana has such regulations, including:

Any provider of five or more first-trimester surgical abortion procedures per month and any provider of even one second-trimester abortion-including private physicians-must be classified as an "outpatient abortion facility."  The abortion facility must comply with a uniquely imposed licensure scheme not required of other medical providers.  Hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers are exempted. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 40:2175.3, :2175.4 (Enacted 2001).  

Without reference to medical necessity, outpatient abortion facilities are allowed to provide surgical abortion services only in segregated procedure rooms removed from general traffic that are a minimum of 120 square feet, exclusive of vestibule, toilets, or closets.  La. Admin. Code tit. 48 § 4405.  

Louisiana law requires that all physicians that provide abortion care be licensed in the state and be board certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynecology.  S.90, 2013 Leg., Reg. Sess. (La. 2013).  

Louisiana law requires any physician providing abortion care to have active admitting privileges at a hospital that is both within 30 miles of the provider and provides obstetrical or gynecological services.  H. 388, 2014 Reg. Sess. (La. 20142) (Enacted 2014).  Nothing in the law requires hospitals to grant providers such privileges. A court granted a temporary restraining order against this provision. June Medical Services LLC v. Caldwell, No. 3:14-CV-0052 (M.D. La. Aug. 31, 2014).

Louisiana also has an unconstitutional and unenforceable statute that imposes greater medical-malpractice liability on abortion providers.  The law exposes providers to enormous financial risk by stating that any person who provides abortion services is liable to the "unborn child" for any damages occasioned or precipitated by the procedure.  This means that an abortion provider could be sued for providing any abortion procedure, regardless of whether the physician committed any fault.  The law permits suits to be brought against abortion providers for up to 10 years after the procedure.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 9:2800.12 (Enacted 1997).  A court ruled that this law imposed an undue burden on a woman's right to choose and violated the rights of abortion providers and patients under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.  Hope Medical Group for Women v. LeBlanc, No. 07-CV-0879 (M.D. La. Mar. 28, 2012) (issuing permanent injunction).

The same court permanently enjoined the state's law which excludes abortion providers from coverage afforded to other health-care practitioners under the state's medical-malpractice protection laws.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1299.39(A) (Enacted 1976; Last Amended 2010), La. Rev. Stat. Ann § 40:1299.41(K) (Enacted 2010).  Hope Medical Group for Women v. LeBlanc, No. 07-CV-0879 (M.D. La. Mar. 28, 2012) (issuing permanent injunction).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Louisiana prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state may provide abortion care.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1299.35.2(A) (Enacted 1978; Last Amended 1999), La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 40:1299.35.1(7) (Enacted 1978; Last Renumbered 2001).  Another law criminalizes the provision of abortion services by anyone other than a physician or the woman herself with a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment. La. Rev. Stat. §§ 14:32.9 and 32.9.1 (Enacted 2012).

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