Louisiana AG Jeff Landry wants info on out-of-state abortions, gender-affirming care

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Louisiana’s Jeff Landry joined 17 other state attorneys general in signing a letter Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Finch sent last month to the Biden administration saying those states need access to information about residents who obtain abortions or gender-affirming care in other states.

The letter calls on U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to drop a proposed rule change prohibiting states from obtaining data about its residents accessing abortion or gender-affirming healthcare in states where it is legal. The information could be used for criminal, civil or administrative investigations, according to the AGs’ letter

Most of the attorneys general that signed the letter are from states with strict abortion restrictions.

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More states, including Louisiana, are seeking to restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare, particularly for transgender youth.

​​Gender-affirming care is a catch-all term for medical treatments given to people to align their physical bodies with their identified gender. Gender-affirming care is used by transgender people, who identify as a gender different from their assigned sex at birth, as well as cisgender people who identify as their assigned sex.

Treatments are individualized to the patient. Some young patients will be prescribed fully reversible puberty blockers, giving the patient time to consider their options. Later, a patient may be given hormone treatments that can help young people go through puberty in a way that allows their body to change in ways that align with their gender identity. These treatments are partially reversible.

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“The Louisiana Department of Justice is opposed to this radical proposal which would block information necessary to investigate the sexual abuse of children,” Landry spokesperson Millard Mule said in a statement to the Illuminator.

Mule has yet to respond to a follow-up request for an explanation on why the information is necessary for child sexual abuse investigations.

Finch’s letter accuses the Biden administration of pushing a false narrative that states are seeking to criminalize pregnant women.

“Last year, the Supreme Court held that abortion is a matter that is entrusted to “the people and their elected representatives” to address,” Finch wrote in the letter. “The Administration has sought to wrest control over abortion back from the people in defiance of the Constitution and Dobbs.”

The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June 2022 overturned the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.

The AGs’ letter goes on to say that the Department of Health and Human Services existing regulations have safeguarded patient privacy while permitting disclosure to the states for public health, safety and welfare protections.

“The proposed rule defies the governing statute, would unlawfully interfere with States’ authority to enforce their laws, and does not serve any legitimate need,” Finch writes.

Chris Kaiser, advocacy director of the Louisiana ACLU, said the letter proves the need for the rule change.

“People have a right to access abortion in states where it’s legal,” Kaiser said in a statement to the Illuminator. “We need clear legal protection to prevent hostile states from interfering with necessary health care nationwide.”

Landry and Fitch were joined on the letter by Attorneys General Steven Marshall of Alabama, Treg Taylor of Alaska, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Chris Carr of Georgia, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Theodore Rokita of Indiana, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Andrew Bailey of Missouri, Austin Knudsen of Montana, Mike Hilgers of Nebraska, Drew Wrigley of North Dakota, Dave Yost of Ohio, Marty Jackley of South Dakota, Jonathan Skrmetti of Tennessee, John Scott of Texas and Sean Reyes of Utah.

— The Louisiana Illuminator is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization driven by its mission to cast light on how decisions are made in Baton Rouge and how they affect the lives of everyday Louisianians, particularly those who are poor or otherwise marginalized.

This article originally appeared on Shreveport Times: Louisiana AG Jeff Landry wants info on out-of-state abortions