Another Republican presidential candidate, another reason to shriek upon hearing their platform. Bobby Jindal, who is the two-term governor of Louisiana announced Wednesday that he will be seeking the presidential bid for 2016. If you do not reside in Louisiana, you might still be familiar with Jindal's name if you closely follow the abortion rights circus that has been parading through the southern U.S. over the last decade or so. Jindal's abortion policies are stringent and dangerous for abortion-seekers in Louisiana, and surely would be country-wide if he were to become the next president (perish the thought).
This comes as no surprise, however, as Jindal is a very conservative Republican who has tended to decide strictly along party lines across all major issues. Jindal seems to have taken some cues from his neighboring governor to the West, Rick Perry, by seeking to institute laws that will make it extremely difficult for anyone to obtain an abortion in Louisiana. Currently, Louisiana has only five abortion clinics, and a new bill supported by Jindal could cause that number to decrease. The policies he supports and the statements he has made related to pro-choice issues are grim at best, and repressively draconian at worst.
For starters, Jindal has long held a pro-life agenda, and is in no way shy about flaunting it. In 2011, Jindal compared women seeking abortion to criminals after signing legislation that required abortion seekers to be "informed of their rights" (read: pressured into choosing an option other than abortion). In a statement about the bill Jindal very non-eloquently opined:
We already make sure criminals know their rights. Before police arrest someone they inform them of all their rights under the law, so it’s only common sense that we would do the same for women before they get an abortion. Women deserve to know their legal rights and the protections already afforded to them under the law, and we are confident that the more they know, the more they will choose life.
Clearly the governor views people in need of an abortion in a less than respectable light. But it gets worse. Jindal has boasted that under his governance, "Louisiana [is] the most pro-life state in the nation." Forgive me if I can't exactly muster up a congratulations for that "achievement."
And this is where we get to the horrible legislation that has recently been signed by Jindal. Taking moves directly out of the Texas playbook, Jindal is supporting legislation that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform abortions, and that would require abortion clinics to meet ambulatory hospital standards. Though the situation here is perhaps even more dire than it is in Texas, because there is allegedly only one single abortion provider in the entire state of Louisiana that is ensured to obtain admitting privileges dictated by the new law. Only one abortion provider for the entire state.
In a public statement about the law that was signed into effect just last week, Jindal stated that these laws will "protect the health of women" and that "Louisiana is a better place" because of these and other antiabortion measures he has supported during his administration. Pro-choice advocates were quick to point out that these measures "back women into a corner" and leave them with very few safe and affordable options if they are seeking an abortion.
All of this amounts to a very conservative antiabortion agenda coming from Jindal, and there is no reason to think that a higher office would tone down his unapologetic denial of choice. In fact, some have speculated that Jindal has pushed this antiabortion legislation through at this time as a calculated campaign move in an effort to gain the support of evangelical voters. Certainly we should not expect Jindal to tone down his touting of antiabortion measures and their subsequent effects throughout his campaign.