Louisiana Abortion Laws

Created by FindLaw's team of attorney writers and editors.

Louisiana has found itself on the front lines of the abortion law fight by passing restrictive laws over the years. The state laws have been challenged in federal court, and most recently in 2014 the state's attempt to restrict abortion was blocked by a federal judge. The most recent Louisiana abortion law, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics, was challenged by a lawsuit and now seems likely to be overruled by the nation's highest Court.

Louisiana Abortion Statutes

Abortion laws in Louisiana are highlighted in the chart below.


Code Section

14:87, et seq. 40:1299.31 to 40.1299.35.18
Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion Deliberate termination of human pregnancy after fertilization of a female ovum, after viability by any person, even the woman herself, with intent other than to produce live birth, remove ectopic pregnancy, or remove dead fetus. Partial Birth Abortion: Unlawful except when necessary to save life of a woman endangered by physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury when no other medical procedure would suffice
Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion After viability or third trimester, any termination of pregnancy necessary to preserve life, health of mother and/or fetus; Also, 2nd physician must be in attendance for the abortion of a viable fetus.
Penalty for Unlawful Abortion Crime of abortion: 1-10 yrs., imprisoned at hard labor and $10,000-100,000 fine; Fine of not more than $1000 or imprisonment of up to 2 yrs. for violation (40:1299.31-1299.35.18); A person who kills a viable child during labor shall be sentenced to life imprisonment at hard labor, except when the death of the child results from an express act to save the life of the child or the mother.
Consent Requirements Written informed consent of woman 24 hours prior to abortion; if unemancipated minor, signed consent of parent or guardian or court, except in medical emergency or if judicial consent
Residency Requirements for Patients -
Physician Licensing Requirements Licensed M.D. must make judgment of advisability or necessity of abortion, shall certify medical reasons for viability abortion

When Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973 and became the law of the land, the national debate surrounding abortion has divided the country and abortion laws have been the battlegrounds. Women have had a Constitutional right to choose whether to end a pregnancy during the first trimester, and abortion in the United States has remained legal.

That said, states are permitted to regulate certain aspects of abortion including the ability to impose counseling, waiting periods, and other requirements. Generally speaking, there is little or no legal way to have an abortion after the second trimester, unless the mother’s life is in danger.

Supreme Court: Admitting Privileges and Surgery Capabilities

On June 27, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against abortion regulations in Texas (Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedtthat required abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges and facilities to meet the standards of surgical centers. In light of the ruling, Louisiana's similar restrictions also may be overruled (pending review).

Louisiana Abortion Laws: Related Resources

The choice to have an abortion can have serious emotional and legal consequences. If you would like legal assistance with an abortion matter, or just want to know your rights and responsibilities, you can contact a health care attorney in Louisiana. You can also visit FindLaw’s sections on abortion, birth control, and health care law for more information and resources on this topic.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.