by Steven Ertelt
June 6, 2006
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — The Louisiana state legislature has given a statewide abortion ban its final stamp of approval and sent the bill to Governor Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat who says she will sign it into law. The Louisiana Senate approved changes the House made to the measure, which prohibits all abortions except in rare circumstances to save the life of the mother.
The abortion ban is similar to one the South Dakota state legislature recently approved. However, the Louisiana ban only goes into effect if the Supreme Court’s reverses its decision in the 1973 Roe v. Wade case. The South Dakota ban is a direct challenge of the case.
Senators voted 27-0 to agree with the House changes to Senate Bill 33.
Blanco said last week she would sign the bill, even though lawmakers defeated an amendment she favored that would have added rape and incest exceptions to it.
Sen. Ben Nevers, a Democrat who sponsored the measure, said he still wants to meet with the governor to talk to her about the bill to make sure she won’t veto it.
"I will meet with her shortly," he told the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper.
The change the House made to the bill was a further explanation of the life of the mother exception. It added language saying abortions could be performed in very rare cases to prevent "a substantial risk of death due to a physical condition or to prevent the serious permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ."
However, Dorinda Bordlee, a long-time pro-life attorney in Louisiana and vice president of the Bioethics Defense Fund, told LifeNews.com the exception the committee added doesn’t gut the abortion ban.
"The amendment does not weaken the bill," she told LifeNews.com.
"It simply clarifies the life of the mother exception by stating that the mother must be experiencing the failure of an organ or major bodily function," Bordlee explained. "Even in that instance, the bill requires that the physician must use the procedure that gives the child the best chance of live birth."
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.
Bordlee said 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."
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.
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.