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Louisiana lawmakers approve 15-week abortion ban

[JURIST] A Louisiana bill [text, PDF] that would ban abortions after 15 weeks was given final legislative approval Wednesday.

The act makes it illegal for a physician to perform an abortion after 15 weeks gestational age. Any physician who does so would face up to 10 years in prison and be subject to fines up to $100,000. The act defines gestational age as "the age of an unborn child as calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman, as determined by the use of standard medical practices and techniques."

The act has been signed [legislative history] by both the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, and is expected to be signed into law by the governor.

Louisiana's 15-week abortion ban will only go into effect if the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] upholds Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. The constitutionality of Mississippi's similar bill was challenged [JURIST report] there, and the suit has yet to be resolved. If the court upholds Mississippi's ban, then the Louisiana ban is likely to become law as well.

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