Louisiana is poised to enact one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion policies, after the state’s governor signed legislation banning the procedures after 15 weeks of gestation.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law Wednesday. Under the law, anyone other than the woman ending her pregnancy who “commits the crime of abortion” could be punished by up to a decade of hard labor in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
“For us to rank at the top nationally among states who protect the lives of the unborn, I think that’s a harbinger of blessing for our state,” said Sen. John Milkovich (D-Shreveport), who sponsored the measure.
The restriction would only take effect if a federal court upholds a similar ban in Mississippi.
The Louisiana law, however, would be more strict than that in its neighboring state. Mississippi’s measure prohibits abortions 15 weeks past the mother’s last period, while Louisiana’s would apply 15 weeks after conception.
“The farther along the pregnancies, the more risks to the mother and the more tortuous it is for the babies,” Milkovich said, arguing that ultrasounds of abortions often show fetuses in distress. “They are small, but they are babies, and they are being killed.”
Like Mississippi, Louisiana’s signed ban does not make an exception for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.
State lawmakers have requested that Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry file a legal brief in federal court to support Mississippi’s ban.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.