BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Louisiana is poised to have some of the most restrictive abortion laws if Roe v. Wade is overturned. A bill passed by the legislature this year now sits on the governor’s desk and some lawmakers are making a plea for him to veto it.
Sixteen state democrats wrote a letter one described as their last Hail Mary to get the governor to consider a veto of the bill.
“This complicated, extreme legislation passed the Legislature without exceptions for rape and incest, or other common-sense exceptions, despite our repeated requests. The Legislature had the opportunity to include reasonable, compassionate, and broadly supported exceptions to ensure that the health of the mother and victims of rape and incest were protected, and it did not,” the letter reads.
SB342 was brought this year in hopes of clarifying nearly 50 years of laws and increasing penalties for doctors who perform abortions should Roe be overturned.
“They’re scaring doctors and the legal personhood angle as we’ve talked about probably triggers some criminal statutes, homicide statutes and we feel he’s the only person who can affect this now,” said Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans.
The bill does not include exceptions for rape or incest – which current trigger laws passed in 2006 also do not include. Gov. John Bel Edwards, an anti-abortion Democrat, said he is in favor of those exceptions. But he rebuffed some of the opposition to the bill in his end-of-session speech on Monday.
“This bill… doesn’t change anything in the trigger law. As you all know we’ve had five decades of bill enactments since Roe v. Wade became the law of the land and I believe Senator Jackson’s bill was an effort to reconcile all of those various enactments,” said Gov. Edwards.
The current law criminalizes doctors who perform abortions with punishments of $2,000 or two years in prison. SB342 increases it to up to 10 years in prison or a fine between $10,000-$100,000.
There is an exception to performing an abortion if it would save the mother’s life. But the democrats fear the exceptions are too severe and a danger to the mother.
“The mother, the pregnant woman, has to be actually close to death. Very close to death. And it also requires two physicians to sign off on this which you don’t have to do that for any other procedure. But in our rural areas it’s next to impossible,” Rep. Landry said.
The governor has ten days from the time it hits his desk to make a decision.