by Steven Ertelt
May 25, 2007
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — The Louisiana state House approved a bill that would ban partial-birth abortions on Thursday by a unanimous 100-0 vote. The measure is a reaction to the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding a federal partial-birth abortion ban and a means to step up enforcement of the ban there.
“This is about a method of killing, killing an innocent life,” Rep. Gary Beard, a Republican, told his colleagues.
Beard said there are 300 such abortions in Louisiana and he wants to make sure the abortions are prohibited. A state law would give the national ban better enforcement by guiding state and local officials.
Without a state partial-birth abortion ban, enforcement would be left only to federal authorities who may not have the time nor resources to uphold it in all fifty states.
Under the measure, anyone who does the abortion could spent a year in prison and be fined $10,000 or both. Someone accused of doing one would go before the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners to defend themselves.
The ban would only allow the abortion to save the life of the mother, although numerous medical groups have said there’s no instance under which the three-day-long abortion procedure would be needed to protect a woman’s life or health.
The House took little debate on the bill but Rep. Danny Martiny and Rep. Steve Scalise, both Republicans, spoke for HB 614 on the floor.
Democratic Sen. Ben Nevers has joined Beard as a co-sponsor of the bill.
Julie Mickelberry, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood, and Michael Malec of the American Civil Liberties Union testified against the bill during the committee hearing.
Pro-life attorney Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund also testified before the House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice and said the bill was well-written because it would hold abortion practitioners accountable for violating the law.