BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law that would criminalize doctors who perform abortions in Louisiana if Roe V. Wade is overturned.
“We’re so thankful that Governor Edwards signed this bill into law,” said Angie Thomas from Louisiana Right to Life.
“It’s just kind of a cruel bill,” said State Representative Mandie Landry.
Governor Edwards signed Senate Bill 342 into law, essentially changing Louisiana’s trigger laws on abortion.
That means if Roe V. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, nearly all forms of abortion would be illegal in Louisiana.
“Our state is poised to be a pro-life state that can protect babies and help moms,” said Thomas.
The bill carried by State Senator Katrina Jackson, says doctors will face thousands of dollars in fines, and years in prison if they perform abortions. The law does not have exceptions for rape or incest.
In a statement, Governor Edwards says while he remains pro-life and supports those exceptions he says vetoing the bill, would leave fewer exceptions in place.
“My position on abortion has been unwavering. I am pro-life and have never hidden that fact. This does not belie my belief that there should be an exception to the prohibition on abortion for victims of rape and incest. However, vetoing Senate Bill 342 would not accomplish that end. In fact, vetoing Senate Bill 342 would leave fewer exceptions in place than if the bill becomes law and would further confuse whether pregnancy begins at fertilization or implantation. For these reasons, I have signed Senate Bill 342 into law.”Gov. Edwards
“As people have noticed because we have so many laws, they conflict,” said Rep. Landry.
Rep. Landry, who is also an abortion attorney, is among the Democrats who voted against the bill.
“It says that pregnancy begins at fertilization and implantation, and as anyone with a uterus knows, fertilization happens in the fallopian tube and then implantation happens in the uterus,” said Rep. Landry.
Opponents are also concerned about how women will be treated. An earlier version of the bill would have gone after women who receive abortions.
“We’re wondering does that trigger homicide statutes? Does those trigger inheritance statutes? Cause those use the word person, so to me it makes things way more complicated,” said Rep. Landry.
The CEO of Woman’s New Life Clinic says its mission is to help women, especially with unplanned pregnancies.
“You know it rarely just about the pregnancy, so many women and men are struggling with finical hardship,” said Allison Millet, CEO of Women’s New Life Clinic.
The bill passed overwhelmingly in both the Louisiana House and Senate before making it to Governor Edwards’ desk.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Roe V. Wade any day now. If it is overturned, these laws would take effect in Louisiana almost immediately.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article indicated if SB 342 goes into effect, it will prevent New Woman’s New Life Clinic from providing care to women. If SB 342 goes into effect overall care at New Woman’s New Life Clinic would not be impacted.