The White House on Monday released a statement condemning the Louisiana Legislature for approving a bill that would increase the criminal consequences for abortion providers.
The Louisiana House of Representatives gave final passage Thursday to Senate Bill 342 — sponsored by Democrat state Sen. Katrina Jackson — which increases the penalties to one to 10 years of prison time and fines of $10,000 to $100,000 for abortion providers, the Louisiana Illuminator reported.
An existing statute allows for prison terms of one to five years and fines of $5,000 to $50,000.
"The Louisiana Legislature has taken the latest step in a growing attack against the fundamental freedoms of Americans," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
"Louisiana’s extreme bill will criminalize abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest and punish reproductive healthcare professionals with up to ten years in prison.
"The President is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Americans afforded by Roe for nearly 50 years, and ensuring that women can make their own choices about their lives, bodies, and families. An overwhelming majority of the American people agree and reject these kinds of radical measures."
The Louisiana bill strengthens the state's trigger law that would go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Chief Justice John Roberts on May 3 confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft opinion suggesting the Supreme Court may be poised to overturn the landmark case that legalized abortion nationwide.
The bill would ban abortion in most cases without exceptions for rape or incest and would close the abortion clinics in the state, The Hill reported. It does allow for abortions if a pregnancy threatens the mother’s life.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, D-La., said at a press conference Thursday that he supports exceptions for rape and incest. He has not yet said whether he would veto the approved bill, although he has previously supported bills without the exceptions, the Illuminator reported.
"Vetoing the bill wouldn’t accomplish what I would like to have, which is the exceptions for rape and incest," said Edwards, who opposes abortion.
Louisiana House lawmakers pared down a controversial bill that included language seeking to classify abortions as homicides and potentially allow for women to be criminally charged for terminating their pregnancies.
State Rep. Danny McCormick, a Republican, had pushed for a House floor debate on his bill.
An amendment introduced May 12 by Republican state Rep. Alan Seabaugh deleted the language of McCormick's bill and replaced it with language similar to Senate Bill 342, which passed the state Senate a week earlier, CNN reported.
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