The Louisiana legislature approved yesterday Senate Bill 161, which — if signed into law by Governor Kathleen Blanco (D) — would make it a felony for physicians to perform late term abortions. Under this new bill, physicians who perform the procedure could be imprisoned up to 10 years and be fined up to $100,000. The bill was sent to Gov. Blanco, who is opposed to reproductive rights, but she has not indicated if she will sign the legislation.
The bill allows exceptions only if a woman’s life is in danger. Physicians charged with the crime may seek a hearing before the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners on whether the procedure was needed to save the woman’s life.
Louisiana was the first state to approve such legislation since the Supreme Court ruled in April to uphold a federal law banning an abortion procedure used in later term abortions. A similar bill has been proposed in Michigan, but lawmakers have not taken immediate action. Other states are also expected to consider similar bans.