Just before sending an important bill to the governor’s desk, Louisiana lawmakers made sure an abortion “ban” they passed will not stop a single abortion from happening.
The bill would have banned abortion procedures undertaken because the unborn child has a genetic defect, but lawmakers adopted language at the last minute stipulating the ban only applies once the woman is 20 weeks along — at which point all abortions are already banned in the state.
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Rick Edmonds, urged his fellow lawmakers to accept the language added by the Senate, although it completely gutted the bill, because he said it’s important “to get the policy started.” The legislature has sent the bill to Gov. John Bel Edwards for consideration.
“We certainly wanted to set a policy to say all life matters,” Edmonds said, according to KATC. “I think this is the beginning.”
Persons found guilty of violating the law would face fines or imprisonment, and violation of either bill is grounds for civil suit from the women or biological fathers of the aborted fetuses in such cases. Louisiana bans all abortions after the woman is 20 weeks along in her pregnancy.
Two other states, Indiana and North Dakota, have laws on the books banning selective abortions. North Dakota was the first state to pass such a law, in 2013. Abortion providers say the law is hard to enforce, because it depends on whether the woman openly says she wants the abortion because of the fetus abnormality.
The Indiana law prohibits anyone from performing an abortion if that person “knows” the pregnant woman is getting the abortion solely because of the race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex of the fetus, or because the fetus has or may have Down syndrome or another disability. Such an abortion is “discriminatory,” the law states.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky recently filed a complaint asking a federal Indiana court overturn the law on the grounds it’s unconstitutional because it “imposes an undue burden on a woman’s right to choose an abortion.”
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