Several new health-related bills to become law - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Several new health-related bills to become law

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A bill that would have rewritten the state's medical marijuana laws failed this legislative session, along with a plan to expand Medicaid.  Those debates dominated much of the conversation in the State Capitol, along with several bills related to your health.  Here is a look at some of the big bills that passed and will become law with Governor Bobby Jindal's signature.        

Perhaps the most controversial health bill that passed will change abortion access.  The bill requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals near the clinic.  

Those in favor say it gives women access to proper health care in the event of procedure problems.  Opponents say it could shut down one or more of the five abortion clinics in Louisiana.

Also on women's health: Louisiana doctors will be required to keep some brain-dead pregnant women alive until the birth of their children.  The measure applies to women who are at least 20 weeks pregnant and only if they do not have a living will.  It also includes language that re-affirms an existing law which allows family members to have a final say in end-of-life decisions.

Minors are now banned from tanning beds in Louisiana.  Governor Jindal has already signed this into law.  It is described as a cancer-prevention measure.      

Another bill signed into law opens the door for terminally-ill patients to use experimental drugs and treatments that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  That is under the "Right to Try" bill.

Patients would have to get permission from their doctors to try potentially live-saving treatments.  Insurers would not be required to cover the costs.

Governor Jindal has signed legislation that allows optometrists to perform certain eye procedures with a laser, as well as injections.  Prior to this legislation, these eye procedures could only be performed by ophthalmologists - who have medical degrees specializing in eye care.      

One bill already signed into law creates a voluntary registry for veterans exposed to dangerous open-air burn pits during wartime.  It is meant to increase the available information on health issues that plague our service members.      

Another controversial bill that did not pass would have allowed Louisiana students to participate in a nationwide survey on sexual behavior.  The representative that pushed for the bill said more needs to be done to understand how to combat Louisiana's teen pregnancy and STD rates.

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