Louisiana Senate Considers Abortion Ban

Following in the steps of South Dakota, the Louisiana State Senate is considering a near-total ban on abortions in the state, which would allow abortions only to save the life of a pregnant woman. The bill does not include exceptions for a woman’s health, or cases of rape or incest. Senator Ben Nevers (D), sponsor of the bill, told the Associated Press that he sympathizes with rape and incest victims, but “abortion is just another crime.” The bill does not punish women directly, but would fine anyone who performs an abortion between $10,000 and $100,000, a jail term of one to ten years, or a combination of a fine and jail time.

Yesterday, after two hours of testimony from doctors and women on both sides of the measure, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed the bill without objection after Nevers agreed the measure would only go into effect following an overturn of Roe v. Wade. Senator Lydia Jackson (D) called the bill “feel-good legislation,” that would have little effect, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune, but she also told the Associated Press that it made clear “how little control women have over their lives” in Louisiana.

The bill now moves to the Senate floor, where many Senators have said they do not have a sense of what the likely outcome will be, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Pro-choice advocates have pledged to challenge the constitutionality of the law if it is passed.

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Associated Press 4/19/06; New Orleans Times-Picayune, 4/19/06, 4/20/06

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