BATON ROUGE, La. — Abortion in Louisiana would be outlawed if the U.S. Supreme court strikes down Roe vs. Wade, the landmark case that legalized abortion in the country.
The state is one of 13 with so-called trigger laws. That means all three of the state’s remaining abortion clinics, including the one in New Orleans, would have to immediately shut down if Roe is overturned.
The high court’s decision could come as early as Monday.
Thursday night, the Louisiana House took action to ensure the state’s abortion laws remain some of the most restrictive in the country.
“I keep wondering why, why do we keep needing this over and over and I think it’s just to torment and harass and to hurt women,” Rep. Mandie Landry said. “Keep them controlled.”
The House passed a bill that would enhance criminal penalties for abortion providers.
At the same time, members fought off attempts to create exceptions for rape and incest victims.
Landry, a Democrat from New Orleans, called the vote “depressing.”
“You’re going to have a lot of women who are going to try to self-manage an abortion and the results are going to be very deadly.” Landry said. “We know the coat hanger stories from before Roe are real. It’s going to happen again.”
Louisiana Right to Life Communications Director Sarah Zagorski explained why her group opposed the exceptions.
“Rape and incest are violent and horrific crimes,” Zagorski said. “We believe those who perpetrate those crimes should be penalized to the fullest extent of the law, but the unborn child shouldn’t be killed because of the crimes of their father.”
The House also approved a measure by Sen. Sharon Hewitt, a Republican from Slidell. It would make it a crime to provide abortion-inducing medication by mail.
“With mail order abortion we know it’s dangerous for the maternal patient to receive pills in the mail without having a pregnancy test, without having any kind of physician oversight,” Zagorski said.
With the expected end to surgical abortions, more women would likely to turn to the two-pill procedure to terminate their pregnancies.
“It says that you can’t order the abortion pill from another state,” Landry said. “I mean, the state of Louisiana can’t regulate interstate commerce, but they’re going to try to.”
Both bills now head back to the Senate to approve wording tacked on in the House.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said he supports exceptions for rape and incest.
He has not yet said whether he would veto the abortion legislation.