Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, broke the status quo on May 30 by signing a bill that would protect the unborn when a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it [the bill] to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone,” Edwards said on Twitter, as reported by Fox News.
The proposed law defending the unborn applies to pregnancies as early as six weeks. The legislature includes exceptions for only circumstances that are “medically futile” such as when the health of the mother is at risk. Babies that result from rape or incest are protected under this law.
The signing of this law makes Louisiana the fifth state to pass a fetal heartbeat bill, preceded by Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio. You can read about the heartbeat bill passed in Georgia here.
The bills that have been passed in these states challenge the constitutional right to an abortion that was given by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling in 1973.
Gov. Ivey of Alabama signed a bill on May 15 that would make carrying out abortions, at any stage of pregnancy, a felony crime that could even lead to imprisonment for life. Ivey’s bill has no exceptions except for health risks to the mother.
The bill signed by Edwards would make doctors and medical providers, who conduct abortions in Louisiana, liable to up to two years in prison and cause them to lose their medical license.
Many of the bills passed in various states have been challenged in court and deemed unconstitutional. State lawmakers aim to cause controversy that will lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a pro-life bill on May 24 that protects babies in the womb after eight weeks of pregnancy.
“By signing this bill today, we are sending a strong signal to the nation that, in Missouri, we stand for life, protect women’s health, and advocate for the unborn,” Parson said in a statement, as reported by U.S. News. “All life has value and is worth protecting.”
Earlier in May, Parson signed House Bill 126, the “Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act,” after it passed the state Senate and the House. Several similar bills have been passed recently that protect unborn babies after a heartbeat is detected, such as in Alabama and Georgia.
This Missouri bill protects the unborn after eight weeks of pregnancy, allowing exceptions for medical emergencies, such as averting the death or permanent physical impairment of the pregnant woman.
Like the law passed in Alabama, Missouri’s bill also protects babies conceived from rape or incest. Anybody who performs or induces an abortion will be considered guilty of a class B felony and could face five to 15 years in prison.
The bill also protects unborn children that have a diagnosis of possible Down Syndrome. In addition, unborn babies would be protected from abortion if their parent does not approve of their sex.
The bill comes with a provision that would eradicate abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Missouri is the eighth state to pass a “heartbeat” law regarding abortion in 2019, as reported by Jurist.
To read U.S. News’s story on this topic click here.
To read the Jurist’s story on this topic click here.
One of the most protective abortion laws in the nation has been signed by Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia. The outcome of this law is the legal protection of babies after six weeks gestation, the stage when doctors can normally detect a heartbeat. There are a few exceptions, which include preventing death or major harm to the woman and in situations of rape or incest, after a police report has been filed.
Like three other states that have enacted similar laws, it is expected Georgia’s law will come up against an immediate legal challenge. Supporters hope that this law will begin a re-evaluation of Roe v. Wade by the United States Supreme Court. Roe v. Wade was the landmark 1973 decision that overrode state abortion laws and made abortion legal all nine months of pregnancy.
In a signing ceremony at the State Capitol, Kemp, a Republican, said that his administration is prepared for a court fight.
“Our job is to do what is right, not what is easy,” he said, as reported by The New York Times. “We are called to be strong and courageous, and we will not back down.”
This Georgia legislation is just one of the latest developments in a wide-ranging battle over abortion that has taken place this year. State legislators headed by Republicans in the Midwest and the South have taken the lead. Conservative lawmakers have seen the recent changes in the Supreme Court as an opportunity to get overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This is a historic day for Georgia,” Catherine Davis, a pro-life rights activist said, as reported by The New York Times. “This is a day that many of us who have been in the pro-life fight for years and years and years didn’t really think it would be possible, in light of the politics of the issue,” Davis said at Kemp’s signing ceremony.
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Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed a controversial abortion bill on May 15 that may have the ability to penalize doctors who conduct abortions with life in prison.
“Today, I signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, a bill that was approved by overwhelming majorities in both chambers of the Legislature,” Ivey, a Republican, said in a statement, as reported by CNN. “To the bill’s many supporters, this legislation stands as a powerful testament to Alabamians’ deeply held belief that every life is precious and that every life is a sacred gift from God.”
The bill was approved 24-6 by the Alabama Senate on Tuesday, May 14. The law’s only allowances include “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the child in the womb has “a lethal anomaly,” as told by CNN. Democrats attempted an amendment to exclude cases such as rape and incest victims, but the motion was not successful, with an 11-21 vote.
Ivey mentioned in her statement that this law may be difficult to enforce because of the Supreme Court’s case, Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in every American state. The intention of this new law was to challenge Roe v. Wade, Ivey said.
“No matter one’s personal view on abortion, we can all recognize that, at least for the short term, this bill may similarly be unenforceable,” Ivey wrote. “As citizens of this great country, we must always respect the authority of the U.S. Supreme Court even when we disagree with their decisions. Many Americans, myself included, disagreed when Roe v. Wade was handed down in 1973. The sponsors of this bill believe that it is time, once again, for the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit this important matter, and they believe this act may bring about the best opportunity for this to occur.”
Alabama is now at the forefront of passing measures to protect unborn babies. Georgia’s Gov. Kemp recently signed a pro-life protection bill, you can read about it here.
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Republican lawmakers in Michigan’s Senate passed legislation to prohibit doctors from prescribing abortion-inducing drugs via online video chats with patients. The measure passed by a 12-vote margin, and extended an existing ban on abortion medications which would have expired in 2019.
Under the new law, women who desire abortion-inducing drugs must visit a physical clinic to obtain the medication. Pro-abortion lawmakers protested that Michigan women may lack access to such clinics, especially in rural areas of the state.
“Telemedicine works,” stated Senator Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor). “The bill before us forces Michigan backwards, plain and simple. The motivation here is purely ideological, not medical, and quite frankly it’s unconstitutional.”
Genevieve Marnon, legislative director for Right to Life of Michigan, expressed a different view. The FDA limits access to abortion-inducing drugs to reduce harmful side effects, she noted: for example, FDA regulators prohibit women from obtaining mifepristone (a common abortion medication) at retail pharmacies. Thus, for pro-life advocates, Michigan’s new law simply respects the spirit of FDA policy.
Since 19 other states have enacted telemedicine abortion bans, Marnon deems Michigan’s bill a “pre-emptive” move amid widespread support for restrictions on abortion drugs. Roughly 9,000 abortions were performed via medication in Michigan last year, Marnon noted.
The Michigan House will consider the measure later this month.