Louisiana is moving forward with a bill that would ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat begins as a Senate committee and a House committee both passed the legislation today.
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.
The measure is Senate Bill 184 by Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, and Louisiana’s proposed bill is modeled after a similar Mississippi law that is being debated in a federal appeals court. It would only go into effect if the Mississippi bill is upheld.
“States across the nation are saying, ‘We are no longer going to devalue life,” Milkovich said. “We are going to acknowledge the sanctity of human life.’”
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.”
“We believe every unborn child deserves a fundamental right to life,” said Louisiana’s Right to Life executive director Ben Clapper, who called the fetal heartbeat a clear marker of life.
Milkovich said Americans have become comfortable with abortion and compared it to the horrors of slavery and the “mistreatment of (American) Indians.”
Passage comes as a new Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters support Heartbeat abortion bans and said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive, according to The Hill.
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“The people who say abortion should be legal in all cases or illegal in all cases is a minority,” researcher Daniel Cox with the American Enterprise Institute told Hill.TV. “The vast majority of Americans are somewhere in the middle that abortion should be legal under some circumstances and there’s some significant variation.”
The May 10-11 poll found that 21 percent of voters said six-week abortion bans are “too lenient,” 34 percent said they are “just right” and 45 percent said they are “too restrictive.”
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.