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Research study

Louisiana’s Admitting Privileges Law and Multiple Other Restrictions

- back to the Evaluation of Abortion Restrictions Project

Background

Currently, there are five abortion facilities in Louisiana that serve the almost 1 million Louisiana women of reproductive age. In 2014, Louisiana passed a Hospital Admitting Privileges law that would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The Admitting Privileges law was reported to have the potential to close between three and five of the five abortion facilities in the state; it has not gone into effect, due to a court case challenging it. Louisiana also has multiple other abortion restrictions in effect, including a 24-hour waiting period, mandatory ultrasound viewing, parental consent, public insurance restrictions, and a 20-week abortion ban.

We are seeking to understand how the Admitting Privileges law would affect Louisiana women and how living in a state with multiple restrictions affects women who become pregnant. We are conducting two studies in Louisiana to examine these questions.

ANSIRH's Abortion Onscreen research program examines how the portrayal of abortion in film and television affects the broader social understandings of abortion

Study 1: Admitting privileges

Objective

To evaluate the effects of Louisiana’s Admitting Privilege law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that could cause the closure of three or five of the five abortion facilities in the state.

Study design

Data were collected from three of the five abortion facilities. These data, along with census data, were analyzed to calculate how far women have to travel for abortions without the Admitting Privileges law in effect and how that would change if some or all facilities close, along with the women most affected by the law. Data from the year prior to when the law was initially scheduled to take effect have been analyzed and a paper based on these analyses was published. Data collection for the year subsequent to when the law was scheduled to go into effect and beyond is ongoing.

Key findings

For the year prior to when the admitting privileges law was scheduled to go into effect, we examined data from 5641 women. The data showed that the Louisiana women in the study had traveled, on average, 58 miles each way to have an abortion. If all of Louisiana’s facilities close, the average distance would more than triple to 208 miles each way, about the distance from New York to Boston or New Orleans to Jackson. The study may actually underestimate the distance women would have to travel, since three of the closest states to Louisiana­—Texas, Mississippi and Alabama—also have passed admitting privilege laws and other restrictions that could close more abortion facilities. We also found that if the five Louisiana facilities closed, the percent of women who would have to travel over 150 miles each way for an abortion would increase from 1% to 72%.

Study 2: Multiple restrictions

Objectives

  • Document changes from before to after Louisiana Admitting Privileges law (if it goes into effect) that would indicate a change in women's access to abortion. These changes include timing of prenatal care entry, pregnancy intentions, decisional conflict and/or considered abortion.
  • Understand women’s preferences for talking about different aspects of their pregnancies, pregnancy-related decision-making, and life situation with prenatal care providers.
  • Understand women’s reasons for continuing a pregnancy after considering abortion in a state with multiple abortion restrictions.
  • Understand women’s experiences with crisis pregnancy centers.

Study design

Women at their first prenatal appointment at prenatal clinics in Southern Louisiana will be recruited to complete a self-administered iPad survey and an in-clinic interview. Some women will qualify to participate in a qualitative interview one to three weeks later.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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