BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – The Louisiana Legislature has passed a bill that will strengthen the trigger laws that fall into place if Roe v. Wade is overturned. The legislation makes the punishment for doctors who perform abortions stronger.
Louisiana already has some trigger laws in place should the case be overturned by the Supreme Court. But this bill by Senator Katrina Jackson would add teeth to the punishment to doctors who would perform abortions.
Under the bill, doctors can face thousands of dollars in fines and years in prison should they perform abortions if the Supreme Court makes a move to remove protections for abortions.
A major amendment that was added on the bill clarified the exceptions to the abortion ban and what exactly the state’s ban will look like.
“Staff members worked on basically 49 years of definitions and definitions regarding abortion in Louisiana statutes. And this is an attempt to kind of streamline those,” said Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carncrno.
There was lengthy debate over if an exception for rape, incest, and pregnant children should be added into the bill. Rep. Cedric Glover, D-Shreveport, said he fears women will return to unsafe and illegal abortions in these cases.
“But at the very least let us give those that have been raped or the victims of incest access to a medically safe and legal option,” Rep. Glover said.
Rep. Emerson shared a letter from Rep. Pat Moore from 2019 where she talked about how her mother chose to keep her after becoming pregnant at age 14. Those opposing the bill said while it is inspiring, what came from Rep. Moore’s life there are some instances they feel should be exceptions to the ban.
“I’m not pro-abortion, I’m pro-life. But again, where do exceptions come? Are we really saying here in the state of Louisiana, oh, it’s a hard decision to make, but this child should have to bear a child,” said Rep. Tammy Phelps, D-Shreveport.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, an anti-abortion democrat, has also implied he is in favor of that kind of exception. That amendment was denied.
Many of the representatives had concerns about the 15 pages of amendments that were dropped just the night before the vote. But that amendment ended up making it onto the seven-page bill.
Many other amendments that were brought by Democrats were shot down. The minority pro-choice voice in the 105-member chamber shared their views against the strict trigger laws.
“I wish you would think of the people you are hurting with this,” said Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans.
The bill passed with a vote of 72-25.