Louisiana house to debate ‘heartbeat bill’ banning abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy

Louisiana house to debate ‘heartbeat bill’ banning abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy
(Source: WLBT)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Just past the midpoint of the 2019 Regular Legislative Session, the Louisiana House of Representatives is poised to debate one of the nation’s toughest abortion bans Wednesday.

The Senate, in a 31-5 vote, agreed to ban the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, prohibiting abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected. Opponents of the bill say this is before most women even know they’re pregnant.

Anti-abortion activists and lawmakers across the country are pushing abortion bans in an attack on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion nationwide until a fetus is developed enough to live outside a woman’s uterus.

Sixteen states across the nation have either passed or are scrambling to pass similar “heartbeat bills.” Abortion bans have been signed into law in four states: Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio, and most recently Georgia. Lawmakers in a number of other states including Tennessee, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, and West Virginia are considering similar proposals.

Georgia’s Governor signed their version of the bill into law May 7, marking the beginning of what could be a lengthy legal battle over the law’s constitutionality.

The Alabama Senate is set to vote on criminalizing abortion, making it a Class A felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 99 years. The bill does not include exceptions for rape or incest, despite lawmakers offering amendments to include such exceptions. The Alabama House overwhelmingly passed HB 314 in a 74-3 vote on May 1.

SB 184 would only go to Louisiana’s Governor to be signed into law if a federal appeals court upholds a similar law in Mississippi.

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