Louisiana poised to sign ‘heartbeat’ abortion law

Louisiana legislators overwhelmingly supported the ban, with a 79-23 House vote and 31-5 Senate vote. It amounts to a near-total ban on ending a pregnancy, even in cases of rape and incest.

Louisiana's Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed a bill banning abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected by an ultrasound.

"In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator", Edwards told reporters during a press conference earlier this month.

Louisiana lawmakers on Wednesday passed a strict new abortion ban that would prohibit the procedure before some women even know they are pregnant, joining a half-dozen conservative states with similar measures.

The bill (pdf) says the prohibition will go into effect if a similar law in MS is upheld by a federal appeals court. The state joins four other states-Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio-in supporting the heartbeat bill.

Parson said the state will soon have the opportunity for a prompt legal review of what he called the "serious health and safety concerns" of regulators regarding the facility.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, also noted the rarity that the Louisiana "heartbeat" bill was introduced, sponsored, and signed into law by Democrats.

California senator Kamala Harris was no less outraged by Edwards's decision, suggesting the governor was not respecting the "agency" and "value" of women.

When women first meet with physicians about abortion, Missouri law mandates that they are given a 22-page booklet with information about fetal development, alternatives to abortion and a statement that "abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being".

The raft of anti-abortion bills passed and put forward this year in states across the country, particularly in the Deep South, are being advanced in an effort to bring a case before the US Supreme Court that would challenge the high court's 1973 landmark decision Roe v. Wade, which nullified state laws criminalizing abortion.

"These bans hurt women", said Rochelle Tafolla, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, the pro-choice group that organized the protest. A judge temporarily blocked the MS law when it was passed.

A federal lawsuit filed May 24 asks a judge to block an Alabama law that outlaws nearly all abortions, the strictest and most far-reaching attempt by a Repubican state to ban abortions.

"While temporary, we celebrate today, and tomorrow, we go back to work to ensure access to abortion does not go dark at the last health center that provides abortion in Missouri", said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region. "The bill would establish "the fundamental right" of a pregnant woman to have an abortion and states that 'a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights, '" adds the article.

In granting the injunction, Reeves said the MS law "threatens immediate harm to women's rights".

King said her facility, the Hope Clinic for Women in Granite City, Ill., has been hiring additional doctors and medical support staff for more than a year in preparation for the possibility that abortion could be restricted in Missouri.

  • Leroy Wright