Louisiana becomes SEVENTH US state to pass abortion ban including in cases of rape and incest

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LOUISIANA last night became the seventh US state to pass a ban on nearly ALL abortions – even in cases of rape or incest.

Local lawmakers in the Louisiana House voted 79-23 in favour of the so-called heartbeat bill – which bars abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Protesters in New Orleans, Louisiana, demonstrating against a new law banning abortions after six weeks
AFP or licensors
The US states which are now ‘hostile’ towards abortion rights according to researchers at the Guttmacher Institute

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This can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy – which critics say is often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards – the Deep South’s only Democratic governor – supports the ban and intends to sign it into law.

That is despite opposition from national party leaders who say such laws are attacks on women.

Once signed off, Louisiana will become the latest in a string of conservative southern US states to vote for strong restrictions on abortions.

NATIONWIDE ABORTION BAN

Anti-abortion politicians are taking aim at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe V. Wade decision that legalised abortion nationally.

They hope that a case will make its way to the high court and two new conservative justices appointed by President Donald Trump could help overturn the landmark ruling.

Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio have enacted similar so-called heartbeat bills.

Missouri lawmakers approved an eight-week ban on abortion.

Alabama’s gone even further, outlawing virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest.

None of the bans has yet taken effect – and all are expected to face legal challenges.

DOCTORS FACE PRISON

Louisiana’s prohibition would take hold only if neighbouring Mississippi’s law is upheld by a federal appeals court.

A federal judge temporarily blocked that Mississippi law last Friday.

Abortion rights activists said Louisiana’s bill would effectively eliminate abortion as an option before many women realise they are pregnant, calling the proposal unconstitutional.

The includes an exception from the abortion ban if the mother’s health is at “serious risk” or if the pregnancy is deemed “medically futile.”

But it does not include an exception for a pregnancy caused by rape or incest.

A doctor who violates the prohibition under the bill could face a prison sentence of up to two years and a ban from practising.

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The ban is one of several bills that Louisiana lawmakers are proposing to add new restrictions on abortion.

A proposal to ask voters to rewrite the state constitution to ensure it offers no protections for the procedure is just steps from passing.

And another bill nearing passage would limit where medication-induced abortions can be performed to the state’s three licensed abortion clinics.

Abortion rights supporters protest at the Louisiana Capitol, where lawmakers last night passed a law to ban the procedure in nearly all cases after six weeks of pregnancy
AP:Associated Press

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