Louisiana poised to reclassify abortion pills as controlled substances

Republican lawmakers in the southern US state of Louisiana gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would criminalise possession of abortion pills without a prescription.

The legislation, passed 29-7 by the state senate and 64-29 in the state house, is the first in the country to classify the drugs as controlled and dangerous substances.

It is expected to be signed by Republican Governor Jeff Landry.

The bill, which comes as abortion rights are being hotly debated ahead of November's presidential election, reclassifies mifepristone and misoprostol, commonly used for abortions, as Schedule IV drugs – putting them on a par with Valium and Xanax.

Possession of the medication without a prescription would be punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Read moreUS abortion rights: New laws highlight election battleground

Authorised medical practitioners would be exempt from prosecution, as would pregnant women if they had the medication for their own use.

Medication abortion accounted for 63 percent of the abortions in the United States last year, up from 53 percent in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Some 20 states have banned or restricted abortion since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.


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