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Louisiana Gov. Signs Bill to Classify Key Pregnancy Care Pills as Controlled Dangerous Substances


Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed a bill classifying misoprostol and mifepristone in the same category as narcotics and depressants

Louisiana GOP Governor Jeff Landry has signed a bill to reclassify drugs used in abortion as Schedule IV controlled dangerous substances, placing the pills in the same category as Xanax and Valium.

The first-of-its kind law makes it a crime to posses misoprostol and mifepristone without a prescription, and was signed by the governor a day after it gained final legislative passage in the state Senate.

Hundreds of physicians in Louisiana protested the bill, citing fears that the law will interfere with patient care given how commonly misoprostol is used to save lives in pregnancy care. “Placing mifepristone and misoprostol on the controlled substances list is harmful and malicious,” State Rep. Mandie Landry said prior to the the governor’s signature. “It is purely the product of Louisiana Right to Life and their politics. Doctors and common sense are all against it.” 

While the bill contains an exception for pregnant women who are found in possession of the medications, anyone else without a prescription can be sentenced to felonies, punishable with up to 10 years in jail.

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Louisiana has a near-total abortion ban which has been in place since August 2022, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and narrow exceptions for life of the pregnant person and “medically futile” pregnancies. 

Misoprostol and mifepristone both have other clinical uses, but they have come under increased scrutiny because the pills may be taken to induce an abortion. OB-GYNs in the state argue that since abortion is illegal, they do not use the pills for this purpose and rarely use mifepristone at all. They emphasize that misoprostol is used daily for miscarriage care, to induce labor, to stop postpartum hemorrhaging, and to prepare the cervix for medical procedures. Health care workers have expressed concern that the reclassification will be harmful to their patients and potentially delay care in life-or-death situations.



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