Governor Edwards signs laws on abortion, medical marijuana - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Governor Edwards signs laws on abortion, medical marijuana

Governor John Bel Edwards signs the landmark medical marijuana law. (Source: WAFB) Governor John Bel Edwards signs the landmark medical marijuana law. (Source: WAFB)

Nearly 400 bills were passed in the 2016 legislative session that wrapped up this week and many of them have a direct impact on hot button health issues in our community.

Governor John Bel Edwards has signed two bills into law that reshape abortion procedures and wait times in Louisiana.
The first, HB386, extends the waiting period from 24 hours to 72 hours from consulting with a doctor before an abortion can be performed. 

Louisiana will become the sixth state with this three day timeline when the new law takes effect August 1.

Another bill to essentially ban dismemberment abortions, HB1081, brought with it graphic testimony from Bossier City Representative Mike Johnson.

"The fetus dies just as a human adult or child would. It bleeds to death as its torn limb by limb," said Johnson.

This commonly-used second trimester procedure will result in doctors who continue to perform it facing prison time or a fine of up to $1,000 when this law takes effect.

New pediatric day health centers, like PediaTrust in Lake Charles, will not be created in Louisiana for one year after the signing of HB498.  

Governor Edwards signed into law a measure placing a one-year moratorium on PHCs with the goal of improving oversight into these Medicaid-financed centers.

A landmark bill, SB271, that is expected to make medical marijuana available to patients for the first time in state history has been signed into law.

Mandeville Representative Reid Falconer fought for this legislation because of his daughter and other people like her who suffer from medical conditions with limited treatment options.

"Existing FDA drugs are not saving my daughter from seizures. So please offer us who are affected by epilepsy a valuable alternative," said Falconer.

The bill also allows doctors to recommend the drug, rather than prescribe it.  Louisiana is still 18 months or more away from getting medical marijuana into patients' hands.

Click here to read the bills to acts from the regular legislative session.

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