Lousiana Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign a 15-week abortion ban into law, the Associated Press reports.
Senate Bill 181, sponsored by Senator John Milkovich (D), was passed by the state’s Senate on Wednesday by an overwhelming majority. The bill makes it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion after 15 weeks, shaving five weeks off the current law which limited abortion at 20 weeks. Physicians and healthcare professionals who perform abortions after the 15-week limit could face a fine of up to $1,000 and two years in jail. Milkovich said the bill would “assist in [the] fight” against the “scourge of abortion in Lousiana.”
SB 181 parallels a 15-week ban that recently passed in Mississippi. The Mississippi ban was challenged in court almost immediately, and a U.S. District judge granted a temporary stay as the ban makes its way through federal court. In anticipation of a legal challenge, Lousiana’s bill will not go into effect immediately. Instead, language added later in the legislative process makes the legislation go into effect only if a federal court upholds Mississippi’s ban. One Louisiana legislator called the amendment a “win-win” since the state will “spend no money litigating this issue.” How clever of him.
Nearly a third of Louisiana children are in families living below the federal poverty line, according to a 2017 report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The same report found that the state ranked in the bottom three on children’s health (49th), education (47th), and economic well-being (49th).
In his Wednesday radio address, Edwards said that he will likely sign the 15-week ban: “That is still my inclination. I am pro-life.”