Abortion debate canceled at DHH meeting

Photo provided by staff
Tuesday, February 4, 2014 - 8:06pm

A new set of rules and regulations from the Department of Health and Hospitals got people on both sides of the abortion issue raising their voices. The night before DHH officials were set to discuss the issue it was pulled from the agenda.

"Absolutely. This is a victory for Louisiana women," exclaimed pro-choice supporter Amy Irvin.

Pro-choice supporters are claiming a minor victory against the Jindal administration after seeing the item get pulled.

"They’re looking to close down clinics. There are five clinics left in the state. There have been so many laws that have just been eroding the rights of women and making access to abortion care just impossible, and this is just another way of doing it," explained Irvin.

Autumn Fawn said she had to come and make her voice heard, even if the department wasn't going to discuss the proposed rule change.

"I am here as a woman, I am here as a woman who's had an abortion, I am here as a person who's worked as a counselor, so speaking to women before and after their procedures," explained Fawn.

She said the move is just another way to try and get rid of the pro-choice voice.

"This is a tactic. They’ve changed the date of the hearing. You don't build gusto, then fizzle, then build gusto and fizzle. No, you build momentum and things keep going. They saw their opposition building momentum so they said, 'oh no. we'll can cancel.' this is a very common tactic," explained Fawn.

The rule change was pulled from discussion just hours before the meeting. DHH officials said it's because they have to fix some wording. Those on the pro-life side don't see it as a set back at all.

"We’re not disappointed because we think the Department of Health is right in going back and making sure that these regulations can stand legal challenge if they are challenged by the abortion industry," explained Ben Clapper of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation.

Both sides do agree that this is just a pause in the on-going fight.

"It is certainly not over. We know the Department of Health is going to be coming back with regulations that are going to be even better and even stronger," said Clapper.

DHH has promised to put the item back on the agenda later in the year once the wording of the proposed rule changes have been made.


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