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Support for halting state abortion law grows

Dr. Rebekah Gee says her concerns are for the health of women and practicing physicians.

NEW ORLEANS — Dr. Rebekah Gee is an OBGYN and the former Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and now the CEO of Nest Health and a mother of five submitted an affidavit supporting a halt on Louisiana's abortion law. Her concerns are for the health of women and practicing physicians.

Louisiana's abortion law allows for abortions if the life of the mother is at risk. Dr. Gee says that leaves a lot of gray areas.

“When is it enough to intervene? What if she is going to lose her lungs, her liver, her heart. What if she's going to lose her kidney," Gee said. "What if she's going to lose her fertility? At what point does the sum of the parts of the women add up to her life?”

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Dr. Gee says that one in three pregnancies end in miscarriages, with Louisiana being the second-highest state for maternal mortality rates. She says the most common medical emergency during pregnancy is hemorrhaging.

“At what point is it ok to intervene, to stop the bleeding, to end the pregnancy to save her life,” Gee said.

There is no exception for rape or incest.

She says medical professionals aren’t being given any guidance on how to proceed with routine care. 

"Do we have to set up a room outside of the emergency room for the individuals who legislated this to come and watch and tell me, 'is the cervix dilated enough for me to do that procedure?'” Gee said.

LSU Legal expert Lisa Avalos says providers found administering abortions for women over 15 weeks pregnant could face up to 15 years imprisonment and a fine ranging between $20,000 and $200,00.

“Any abortion prior to 15 weeks gestational age the penalty is one to 10 years in prison and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000,” Avalos said.

RELATED: Demand for emergency contraceptives in New Orleans increases

"If an abortion is required due to medical emergency there would be no penalty for that.” 

Avalos says a doctor needs to get a second opinion before intervening if there’s a medical emergency. She says ectopic pregnancies are permissible by law.

Professor Avalos also says one of her biggest concerns is women buying unregulated abortion pills on the internet and the health repercussions they could have.

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