Louisiana governor signs bill classifying abortion pills as controlled substances

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(Reuters) -Louisiana’s governor on Friday enacted a bill making his state the first in the U.S. to classify two abortion-inducing medications as controlled substances, a category that healthcare regulators typically reserve for drugs that may be abused or cause addiction.

Governor Jeff Landry, a Republican, announced on social media that he had signed the measure into law after the Republican-controlled state legislature sent it to his desk.

The measure makes it riskier for Louisiana residents, who are already subject to a near-total ban on surgical and medication-induced abortions, to obtain the pills from out of state or order them online without a prescription.

The bill makes possession of the abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol without a prescription a crime punishable by one to five years in prison and fines of up to $5,000.

Although pregnant women are expressly exempt from punishment for violation of the measure, any other person who might help them obtain the drugs, such as friends, family members or healthcare providers, could be subject to prosecution.

Women who are not pregnant but obtain the pills to have on hand as a precaution are likewise not exempt.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Ahmed Aboulenein in Washington and Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Chris Reese and Josie Kao)

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