Louisiana Senate Passes Bill Banning Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   Steven Ertelt   May 6, 2019   |   6:28PM    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana is moving forward with a bill that would ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat begins.

The full state Senate passed the legislation today. Because many women do not even know they are pregnant at this early stage, the legislation could protect almost all unborn babies in Louisiana if it goes into effect.

The measure is Senate Bill 184 by Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, and the Louisiana Senate voted by a 31-5-3 margin to approve it.

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life,told LifeNews: “We commend the Senate for voting overwhelmingly in a bipartisan fashion to approve SB 184 to protect the unborn baby once the heartbeat can be detected. Louisiana Right to Life supports protecting all unborn babies, including those with a heartbeat that begins only 18 days after conception. This is even before most women know they are pregnant. Abortion stops the beating heart of a precious unborn child, and our nation must bring an end to this injustice.”

Clapper continued, “Louisiana Right to Life supports the committee amendment that makes the law effective on the outcome of a federal court case centered on a similar law in Mississippi. This provision allows our Attorney General’s office to focus on its current defense of already existing pro-life laws in federal court, including the likely defense before the Supreme Court of our 2014 law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. We look forward to the Louisiana House supporting this important law.”

Pro-Life Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards is likely to sign it into law.

“We feel like this bill is an important statement about Louisiana’s devotion to the unborn,” Milkovich said. “This bill is a step forward in our efforts to protect life.

“Perhaps the root of that is the view that an unborn baby is less than human,” he said. “The moment we devalue human life we can justify mistreatment.”

The bill was amended in committee:

Lawmakers in committee added a “trigger” provision that made the bill rely on the Mississippi law passing court challenges before going into effect. That amendment, backed by Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office, was aimed at preventing Louisiana from getting into prolonged and costly litigation.

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The Senate also made a change to SB184 to require an ultrasound to be performed to determine whether a fetal heartbeat is present.

The Heartbeat Bill, when it goes into effect, will prohibit abortion when a human heartbeat can be detected. An abdominal ultrasound can detect a heartbeat between eight and twelve weeks. A recent Marist Poll found that 80% of Americans want to limit abortions no later than three months of pregnancy (12 weeks), and another poll found that 56% of voters are in favor of Heartbeat Bills specifically.

This year, pro-life lawmakers have introduced a number of heartbeat bills including in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recentlymade Ohio the 6th state to make it law.

Kentucky also passed a heartbeat law this year, but a federal judge already has blocked it.

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider overturning Roe, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain – especially after Chief Justice John Roberts recently sided with the liberal justices on an abortion case.

Voting pro-life for the abortion ban:

President Alario, Sens. Allain, Appel, Barrow, Boudreaux, Chabert, Claitor, Cortez, Donahue, Erdey, Fannin, Gatti, Hensgens, Hewitt, Johns, LaFleur, Lambert, Long, Martiny, Milkovich, Mills, Mizell, Morrish, Peacock, Riser, J. Smith, Tarver, Thompson, Walsworth, Ward and White.

Voting pro-abortion against the ban:

Sens. Bishop, Carter, Colomb, Morrell and Peterson.