BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that he likely would sign a proposal banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, if his state’s lawmakers pass it.
The bill would make Louisiana the second state in the nation with such a restrictive abortion law, following Mississippi. Louisiana’s proposal , sponsored by Sen. John Milkovich, a Democrat from Keithville, hasn’t yet received a hearing.
“It remains to be seen whether that bill will make its way through the process. I would be inclined to sign it if it hits my desk,” Edwards, a Democrat who opposes abortion, said on his monthly radio call-in show.
Louisiana currently prohibits abortion after 20 weeks.
As he announced his position, the governor described himself as “very much a pro-life individual.” But he also said he hasn’t spoken to Milkovich, other lawmakers or interest groups about the 15-week ban bill.
Mississippi’s governor signed his state’s new law barring abortion after 15 weeks’ gestation on Monday, and it became law immediately. A federal judge blocked it a day later, after Mississippi’s only abortion clinic sued, arguing the law is unconstitutional.
Milkovich’s bill wouldn’t penalize a woman seeking the abortion, but would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion after the 15-week period. Doctors who violate the ban would face a prison sentence ranging from one year to 10 years, along with a hefty fine. The measure would maintain an existing exception for abortions performed because of risks to the pregnant woman’s life.
Senate Bill 181: www.legis.la.gov
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