Louisiana’s bipartisan heartbeat bill heads to governor
by Harvest Prude
Posted 5/30/19, 11:28 am
Louisiana lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday to protect babies from abortion after they have a detectable heartbeat, typically at six to eight weeks of gestation. Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said he will sign it into law. The bill passed in the House 79-23 after previously clearing the Senate with a 31-5 vote. It includes exceptions to protect the life of the mother or if the pregnancy is “medically futile” but does not include exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Abortionists in violation of the law would face a prison sentence of up to two years and have their medical license revoked. The bill, authored by Sen. John Milkovich, a Democrat, enjoyed bipartisan support in the legislature.
Edwards, who became governor in 2015 after running on an openly pro-life platform, is up for reelection this fall. “As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us,” he said in a statement.
Louisiana would become the fifth state to pass a heartbeat law this year, joining Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio. Louisiana lawmakers are expected to pass a separate bill that will allow voters to amend the state constitution to clarify that it does not protect “a right to abortion or [require] the funding of abortion.” The Senate approved that measure 31-4 Tuesday, but the bill was punted back to committee after the House rejected the Senate’s amendments. Louisiana has previously passed a law that would prohibit abortion in the state in the event the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that led to the legalization of abortion nationwide.
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Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.