Louisiana lawmakers pass ‘fetal heartbeat’ abortion ban

Louisiana

Louisiana lawmakers approved a “fetal heartbeat” abortion ban with a 79-23 vote in the house Wednesday evening.

The bill prohibits abortion around six weeks of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. A proposed amendment to allow women who become pregnant by rape or incest to receive an abortion later in their pregnancies failed on a 35-67 vote.

My statement on the passage of SB 184 following final passage by the Louisiana Legislature. #lalege #lagov pic.twitter.com/SxadrmuUTC — John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) May 29, 2019

79 yeas, 23 nays. Louisiana’s “fetal heartbeat” bill goes to @LouisianaGov’s desk for a certain signature. @WVLANBCLocal33 @wgmbfox44 #LALege #LAGov pic.twitter.com/laibRJL1HY — Harrison Golden (@harrisongolden) May 29, 2019

The bill will be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards, who is expected to sign the bill.

In a statement released after it passed the state legislature, Edwards defended his anti-abortion stance and reaffirmed his decision to approve the legislation.

“In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years,” Edwards said. “As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue.”

Currently, in Louisiana, abortions are legal until the woman is 15 weeks pregnant. 

The ACLU released a statement minutes after the vote, calling the bill unconstitutional. 

“This extreme abortion ban is part of a concerted, nationwide effort to criminalize abortion,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, the executive director for ACLU of Louisiana. “After years of attacks on abortion access, Louisiana politicians have now sunk to a new low with an extreme ban that would outlaw abortion before many women know they are pregnant.” 

She attacked legislators who voted for the bill, calling their actions a “brazen attack” on constitutional rights. 

“Senate Bill 184 is a plainly unconstitutional reminder of just how far Louisiana politicians are willing to go to interfere in these deeply personal medical decisions and force women to continue pregnancies against their will,” Hebert said. “We’re committed to making sure this brazen attack on the constitutional right to abortion access never takes effect.” 

Louisiana is the latest of several states in the South and Midwest to pass strict anti-abortion laws this year. Many anti-abortion lawmakers proposed these bills to take aim at Roe v. Wade, believing that President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointees could tip the scales in their favor.

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