Bill banning abortions after 15 weeks passes House committee

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks passed another hurdle at the Louisiana State Capitol on Wednesday.

Senate Bill 181 by Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, would make it a criminal offense for a physician to perform an abortion 15 weeks after conception.

"It's for them, the unborn being killed in the abortion mills in Louisiana, that's whom this bill is for," said Milkovich.

"If you believe, as the Bible teaches us, that humans are made in the image of God and though shall not kill. These unborn babies, I understand, are very small and they're not completely formed, they're small human being,s so that I guess is my frame of reference," the senator said.

A House Criminal Justice Committee approved the measure by a slim margin vote, 9 to 8. It now moves on to the full House.

While defending the idea to restrict abortions, Milkovich cites emotional devastation after abortion as one of the reasons for the proposal. "I think when you're balancing the challenge of raising a child in this world, versus the knowledge that you've terminated the life of a human being, I believe that the challenges of raising a child are a blessing compared to the reality of taking the life of an unborn child," the senator explained.

While the bill passed the committee, those opposing this stance on women's health let their opinions be known.

"Louisiana's unacceptably high rate of maternal mortality will only be worsened by this bill," said a third-year medical student speaking in opposition to SB 181.

She says this extreme policy doesn't protect women, but rather endangers their lives. "The ban would prevent providers from administering critical treatments and require them to deny crucial medical care for a woman until her health crisis becomes life-threatening."

This bill, if passed, would make it unlawful for anyone to perform an abortion after 15 weeks with the penalties being imprisonment between 1 and 10 years and a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.

The woman seeking treatment would not face penalties.

SB 181 mirrors House Bill 1510 in Mississippi, which is currently awaiting a final decision by the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals after it was challenged by the state's only abortion clinic. Because it mirrors that one, the bill here will be on hold until the courts make a decision on Mississippi's version.

Louisiana's bill still has a few hurdles to clear before reaching that point though.

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