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Louisiana House approves heartbeat abortion ban
© WikiMedia (Jim Plylar)
Louisiana House approves heartbeat abortion ban

The Louisiana House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, similar to those recently passed in Mississippi and other states.

The bill was sponsored by Louisiana state Senator John Milkovich, a Democrat, and Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, another Democrat, has indicated his willingness to sign the bill into law.

The bill requires an ultrasound before an abortion can be performed, and if a heartbeat is detected the abortion cannot proceed. The bill does provide exemptions if the life of the mother is at risk, or if, in the medical judgement of the attending physician, there are “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

In addition, an abortion can be performed if the physician’s diagnosis finds that the pregnancy is medically futile. The bill defines medically futile as, “in reasonable medical judgment, the unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth.”

The bill’s enactment is dependent on a final decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on a similar bill passed by the Mississippi legislature.