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Louisiana sends ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban bill to governor’s desk

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Posted: May 30, 2019 10:17 AM

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    NEW ORLEANS, LA (WGNO) -- Louisiana lawmakers voted Wednesday to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — with no exceptions for rape or incest.

Louisiana joins Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri, which have all passed so-called “heartbeat” bills this year. Along with Alabama’s near-total ban on abortion, the heartbeat bills are part of a conservative nationwide push to bring a Supreme Court challenge to the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion in the US.

The Louisiana measure passed the state House in a 79-23 vote and would “prohibit the abortion of an unborn human being with a detectable heartbeat.”

That can come as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. The bill would require an ultrasound prior to an abortion and subject doctors who perform abortions after a heartbeat is detected with a $1,000 fine or up to two years in prison.

The bill does not make exceptions for instances of rape or incest. Democratic state Rep. Ted James introduced an amendment to include those exceptions, arguing that “we are not that important to make that decision for a woman who’s been raped,” but the move failed 35-67.

The bill would allow for abortions preventing a pregnant woman’s death or “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function,” and would require doctors who perform abortions under such circumstances to specify their eligibility in writing.

Abortions on “medically futile” fetuses that would not survive past birth are also not subject to the restrictions.

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he intends to sign the bill.

The bill was introduced by Republican state Rep. Valarie Hodges, who called it “a very solemn responsibility.”

“I’m proud to stand with this legislature and the state of Louisiana because we are very pro-life,” she said.

Democratic state Rep. Patricia Smith accused legislators opposed to exemptions for rape and incest of making decisions for a “child who’s carrying a child.”

“How dare you tell a 9-year-old, a 10-year-old, an 11-year-old, a 12-year-old that they’re supposed to carry a baby for an uncle, a father, a nephew or someone in their family that’s taken advantage of them, how dare you,” she said. “How dare you not allow a family to make decision for that child who’s carrying a child.”

Hodges responded that “while we have tremendous empathy” for victims of rape or incest, “if anyone should be put to death, it should be the perpetrator of the crime — not the child, not the baby.”

Republican state Rep. Julie Stokes referenced President Donald Trump’s tweeted views on abortion in support of her proposed amendment to allow abortions for up to 10 weeks for rape and incest victims.

“Our President said that he is strongly pro-life with three exceptions: rape, incest and protecting the life of the mother — the same position taken by Ronald Reagan,” she said.

That amendment ultimately failed 34-67.

Companion legislation passed the state Senate earlier this month, and Edwards said at the time he would sign the bill if it lands on his desk.

“My position hasn’t changed. In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator,” Edwards told reporters during a press conference earlier this month. “When I ran for governor, I said that I was pro-life. And so that’s something that’s consistent.”

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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 265146

Reported Deaths: 5777
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17741191
Hinds16891332
Harrison14279204
Rankin11239220
Jackson10917190
Lee9071145
Madison8599169
Jones6731118
Forrest6208124
Lauderdale6121192
Lowndes5544120
Lafayette520598
Lamar505865
Washington4933125
Bolivar4126109
Oktibbeha408382
Panola386981
Pontotoc377460
Monroe3686110
Warren3685103
Marshall357170
Union356864
Pearl River3495106
Neshoba3490154
Leflore3118109
Lincoln306788
Hancock294262
Sunflower291975
Tate280662
Alcorn273154
Pike270181
Itawamba269363
Scott260048
Yazoo256756
Prentiss253754
Coahoma249755
Copiah249749
Tippah249750
Simpson242872
Leake238167
Marion224273
Grenada223972
Covington221073
Adams215171
Wayne213734
Winston207671
George204739
Newton199946
Attala197064
Tishomingo194961
Chickasaw189344
Jasper181138
Holmes172068
Clay166837
Tallahatchie157235
Stone152525
Clarke148162
Calhoun141322
Smith130026
Yalobusha123335
Walthall114537
Greene113729
Noxubee113026
Montgomery112036
Carroll106822
Lawrence106817
Perry105131
Amite102126
Webster96824
Tunica89021
Claiborne88825
Jefferson Davis88430
Benton85823
Humphreys84724
Kemper80920
Quitman7139
Franklin70617
Choctaw63713
Wilkinson59825
Jefferson56821
Sharkey45217
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 441170

Reported Deaths: 6660
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson646811007
Mobile31620572
Madison28310217
Tuscaloosa21525275
Montgomery19954332
Shelby19335132
Baldwin17256189
Lee13205107
Morgan12639142
Etowah12107181
Calhoun11521206
Marshall10471123
Houston9009164
Limestone834981
Cullman8274124
Elmore8214110
DeKalb7894107
Lauderdale7871107
St. Clair7854130
Talladega6481112
Walker6036183
Jackson601545
Colbert549994
Blount547386
Autauga537662
Coffee462464
Dale410785
Franklin374950
Russell357515
Chilton345473
Covington339680
Escambia335444
Tallapoosa3149109
Dallas313296
Chambers304270
Clarke300236
Pike262531
Lawrence254155
Marion253761
Winston233642
Bibb222348
Geneva211547
Marengo209331
Pickens199631
Hale185244
Barbour182738
Fayette178629
Butler174460
Cherokee165731
Henry159925
Monroe152421
Randolph146436
Washington142327
Clay130546
Crenshaw124045
Macon122337
Cleburne121825
Lamar120222
Lowndes115536
Wilcox107922
Bullock103528
Perry100018
Conecuh97922
Sumter90527
Greene77923
Coosa63618
Choctaw51924
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