by Steven Ertelt
June 19, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, signed into law on Saturday a new statewide ban on abortions. The law prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save the mother’s life and would not take effect until the Supreme Court overturns its decision in Roe v. Wade allowing virtually all abortions.
The measure would also become effective if a federal constitutional amendment is adopted that allows states to ban abortions.
“The central provision of the bill supports and reflects my personal beliefs,” she said in a statement, even though she would have preferred to have abortions legal in the case of rape or incest. Lawmakers twice rejected amendments to do so.
Blanco cited “overwhelming” bipartisan support for the measure in the state legislature.
The House approved the measure on a 85-17 vote and rejected rape and incest exceptions by a 67-36 margin. The Senate originally signed off on the bill with a 31-6 vote and defeated the extra exceptions on a 20-17 vote.
Planned Parenthood of Louisiana issued a statement saying the new law "endangers women’s health by criminalizing abortion at a time when the state is still recovering from Hurricane Katrina and scrambling to prepare for the start of the new hurricane season."
The Louisiana abortion ban is different from a South Dakota ban that seeks to prohibit abortions now and is considered an attack on Roe.
Dorinda Bordlee, a long-time pro-life attorney in Louisiana and vice president of the Bioethics Defense Fund, told LifeNews.com other states should follow Louisiana’s lead.
"Our approach to include a post-Roe activation clause, sometimes called a trigger clause, enabled the legislators to speak their hearts without abortion industry lawyer’s breathing down their backs," Bordlee explained.
"It allowed post-abortive women to educate the legislators about how abortion negatively impacted their lives in profound ways," Bordlee added. "Other states that choose to follow Louisiana’s lead will help build a consensus to reverse Roe."
Under the measure, an abortion practitioner who does an abortion would be fined from $10-100,000 and receive anywhere from one to 10 years in prison.
Lawmakers approved an abortion ban in 1991 that did have rape and incest exceptions in it and was eventually vetoed by then Gov. Buddy Roemer. Federal courts declared it unconstitutional in 1992.
The measure is SB 33, the Human Life Protection Act.