Jun 26, 2023 - News

Abortions are nonexistent in post-Roe Louisiana

Estimated legal abortion rate in Louisiana
Note: Includes abortions provided by clinics, private medical offices, hospitals and virtual-only clinics. Months with less than 10 abortions are represented as 0; Data: #WeCount/Society of Family Planning; Chart: Kavya Beheraj and Jacque Schrag/Axios

Louisiana's estimated legal abortion rate has been decimated since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer.

Driving the news: Last weekend marked one year since the Dobbs v. Casey decision, which ended federal protections on abortion.

Why it matters: Louisiana's trigger law is one of the strictest bans in the country and makes nearly all abortions illegal.

Catch up quick: After being temporarily blocked twice given pending litigation over the law, the state Supreme Court dealt a blow to abortion-rights advocates when it ruled in August that the ban could remain in effect while a legal challenge continues.

By the numbers: Since August 2022, Louisiana has therefore reported a rate of zero legal abortions per 100,000 people, according to a report released last week by #WeCount, a national abortion reporting effort.

  • That breaks down to less than 10 abortions and zero virtual clinic abortions per month since August. Louisiana's pre-Dobbs monthly average was 785.
  • Cumulatively, the group estimates the state has seen more than 6,500 fewer abortions compared to April 2022.

Flashback: In August, a Louisiana woman said she was denied an abortion after her fetus was diagnosed with a fatal condition that prevented it from developing a skull. She wound up flying to New York to have the procedure.

The big picture: Nationally, abortion rates have declined since the Dobbs decision.

  • #WeCount found that in the nine months since Dobbs, nearly 66,000 fewer abortions occurred in states that banned abortion, a drop not offset by increases in states that permit abortion.

Of note: The data includes abortions reported by clinics, private medical offices, hospitals and virtual-only clinics but does not reflect any self-managed abortions, defined as any attempt to end a pregnancy outside the formal health care system.

Note: Includes abortions provided by clinics, private medical offices, hospitals and virtual-only clinics; Months with less than 10 abortions are represented as 0; Data: #WeCount/Society of Family Planning; Chart: Kavya Beheraj and Jacque Schrag/Axios

Zoom in: Louisiana's law, which passed in June of 2022, only allows abortions to save the life of the pregnant person, to "save the life or preserve the health" of the fetus, to remove an ectopic pregnancy or to remove the remains of a miscarriage.

Under the state's previous "trigger" law, abortion providers faced a fine of up to $1,000 and no more than two years in prison, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports.

  • The new law makes providing an abortion punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
  • It also added new penalties for abortions performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy: A provider shall be imprisoned for no more than 15 years and be fined up to $200,000.
  • The patient receiving the abortion cannot be prosecuted under the law.

Between the lines: This spring, lawmakers rejected bills that would have added exceptions for victims of rape and incest.

Reality check: States where the procedure has been banned or restricted have seen increases in life-threatening complications.

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