NBC Fear Mongers Over Louisiana Abortion Drug Bill

News & Politics

On the Wednesday edition of Today, NBC Washington correspondent Hallie Jackson mourned Louisiana’s decision to pass a bill that will reclassify two drugs commonly used in abortion, mifepristone and misoprostol as controlled and dangerous substances.

Co-host Craig Melvin introduced Jackson by reporting, “In a first of its kind move, lawmakers in Louisiana have now passed a bill to reclassify two commonly used drugs in abortions as ‘controlled dangerous substances.’”

Jackson replied that, “If the governor does ultimately sign this bill into law, and he’s expected to, Louisiana would be the first state in the country to criminalize these abortion drugs in this way, but critics fear it may not be the last.”

In a pre-recorded report, Jackson continued, “Louisiana lawmakers moving forward with a plan to put two abortion drugs in the same category as so-called “controlled dangerous substances” like depressants and stimulants. Criminalizing the possession of mifepristone and misoprostol – used to induce abortions for anyone without a prescription.”

Jackson did manage to interview the bill’s primary sponsor, State Sen. Thomas Pressly, where she recalled “his sister was given an abortion drug while pregnant without her consent.”

However, Jackson left out the details. Catherine Herring, was six to eight weeks pregnant with her daughter when she began to suspect that her husband, Mason, was spiking her water with abortion pills. In Louisiana, mifepristone and misoprostol can be easily obtained through the mail or picked up out of state. Herring installed cameras in her home which revealed that she was taking abortion pills against her consent. In February of this year, Mason Herring pleaded guilty to injuring a child and the assault of a pregnant woman. He was sentenced to six months in jail.

Pressly filed Senate Bill 276 to criminalize the possession of abortion drugs without a prescription. He stated, “My goal is certainly not to prevent women from getting the access to these pills when they need them. It is to simply say when you’re a bad actor in possession of these pills that you should be held accountable.”

The bill also makes it a crime to slip abortion pills to a pregnant woman without her given consent. With a prescription, individuals will be able to use these drugs. The purpose of this bill is to raise awareness on how dangerous these pills can be to your health if not taken with a doctor’s permission and guidance.

However, that didn’t stop Jackson from fear-mongering. She cited doctors in Louisiana who believe that this bill will “create confusion and misinformation” since the drugs can also be used after a miscarriage or to induce labor.

But as Pressly himself noted, he isn’t banning the drugs. An individual will just need to obtain a prescription of it from their doctor.

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

NBC Today

05/22/2024

8:17:40 AM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: The battle over reproductive rights, a key issue in the 2024 race has escalated. In a first of its kind move, lawmakers in Louisiana have now passed a bill to reclassify two commonly used drugs in abortions as “controlled dangerous substances.” NBC’s senior Washington correspondent, Hallie Jackson, is following this one for us. Hallie, good morning.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Louisiana’s Push to Criminalize Abortion Pills]

HALLIE JACKSON: Hey there Craig, good morning to you. This is a controversial plan that hundreds of Louisiana doctors say they oppose. If the governor does ultimately sign this bill into law, and he’s expected to, Louisiana would be the first state in the country to criminalize these abortion drugs in this way but critics fear it may not be the last.

A new front line this morning in the battle over abortion access.

LOUISIANA POLITICIAN: And the bill is finally passed.

JACKSON: Louisiana lawmakers moving forward with a plan to put two abortion drugs in the same category as so-called “controlled dangerous substances” like depressants and stimulants. Criminalizing the possession of mifepristone and misoprostol – used to induce abortions for anyone without a prescription.

JULIE EMERSON (Republican Louisiana State Representative): When over utilized, this drug can be incredibly harmful.

JACKSON: The bill’s author says his sister was given an abortion drug while pregnant without her consent.

THOMAS PRESSLY: My goal is certainly not to prevent women from getting the access to these pills when they need them. It is to simply say when you’re a bad actor in possession of these pills that you should be held accountable.

JACKSON: But critics question how the state could enforce the proposal and warn it may have a chilling effect.

AIMEE ADATTO FREEMAN (Democratic Louisiana State Representative):  Let me tell you something, 50th in maternal outcomes is not pro-life.

JACKSON: Two hundred eighty Louisiana doctors in a letter say reclassifying the drugs is “not scientifically based” and “creates confusion and misinformation” considering the drugs are also used after miscarriages and to induce labor.

NICOLE FREEHILL (Louisiana Obstetrician and Gynecologist): Only a very small percentage of the time are they utilized for abortion care.

JACKSON: Louisiana already has one of the most restrictive laws in the country banning both medication and surgical abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest, only for the life of the mother. Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade more than a dozen states have put in place stricter abortion laws, raising the political stakes on reproductive rights heading into November.

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