Louisiana Senators Advance Unconstitutional Ban on Abortions After 15 Weeks

For Immediate Release

April 17, 2018

Louisiana Senators Advance Unconstitutional Ban on Abortions After 15 Weeks

New proposal very likely to end up in court

New Orleans, LA - On Tuesday, the the members of the Judiciary C Committee in the Louisiana Senate approved a proposal by Senator John Milkovich that would that would ban abortion after 15 weeks from conception.

This bill is another extreme and unconstitutional attempt to ban abortions before viability. Courts have consistently struck down similar bans on abortion before viability as unconstitutional.

This ban runs counter to the longstanding Supreme Court precedent established in Roe v. Wade, and reaffirmed in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which protects a woman’s right to a pre-viability abortion as settled law that the Court will not overturn.

Last month, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s unconstitutional ban on abortion after 15 weeks signed by Governor Bryant. The federal court quickly blocked Mississippi’s law from going into effect.

"These legislators just rubber stamp every anti-abortion bill that comes before them even when there are serious issues raised about the consequences," stated Michelle Erenberg, Executive Director of Lift Louisiana. " Louisiana is already in court defending six lawsuits against restrictions on abortion care How much money is the state willing to spend to keep pushing this radical agenda? We have a severe budget deficit and need our tax dollars to be helping families not paying lawyers to hurt women."

Arizona, North Dakota and Arkansas passed similar laws seeking to ban pre-viability abortions and each was subsequently blocked by the courts in challenges. In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review Arizona’s ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy after it had been declared unconstitutional. In 2016, the Supreme Court refused to review both North Dakota’s 6-week ban on abortion and Arkansas’ 12-week ban, both of which had been struck down by lower courts.

The proposal in Louisiana threatens doctors with extremely harsh penalties of imprisonment or at hard labor for between one year and 10 years and fines between $10,000 and $100,000. The ban includes no exceptions in case of incest or rape and prohibits safe and legal abortion regardless of whether the pregnancy has severe abnormalities or has an unlikely chance of survival.

Women’s health advocates urge state lawmakers to advance measures that reduce the difficulties that women currently face in accessing reproductive health services, including comprehensive sex education, affordable contraception, and safe, legal abortion care early in pregnancy.

Lift Louisiana is a reproductive rights organization that educates, advocates and litigates for policies that improve the health and well-being of women, their families, and their communities.
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