Lawmakers in Louisiana have passed two bills that strengthen the state’s pro-life stance. Senate Bill 388 makes it illegal to send the abortion pill through the mail, while Senate Bill 342 increases the penalties for abortionists who break the law should the state’s trigger law go into effect.
SB 388 passed the state’s Senate with a 31-1 vote on Friday, following a victory in the House in April. The legislation makes it a crime to ship the abortion-inducing drugs misoprostol and mifepristone through the mail, including from out of state. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Sharon Hewitt, has said that although the state currently requires that the abortion pill be dispensed by and taken in front of a physician, the current law isn’t clear enough, noting that her legislation intends to “close a loophole.”
“We’re targeting manufacturers and distributors who are taking advantage of women,” she has stated.
The bill carries penalties of five to 10 years of prison time and/or a $10,000 to $75,000 fine. If the mother is a minor, the penalty for the abortion pill provider could range from 15 to 50 years of imprisonment and/or a $15,000 to $100,000 fine.
The second piece of legislation, SB 342, strengthens the state’s “trigger law,” which will go into effect should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. If the trigger law goes into effect, it would protect nearly all preborn children in the state. Sponsored by pro-life Democratic Senator Katrina Jackson, the bill increases the penalties for abortionists found violating the law to 1-10 years of prison time and fines of $10,000-$100,000. The bill does carry exceptions for criminal penalties for those who commit abortion in circumstances involving the life or health of the mother (though abortion is never medically necessary) or if the preborn child has a condition deemed “not compatible with life.”
Both bills now head to the desk of Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. Edwards has not said whether or not he would sign the bills, but he did speak to SB 342 at a press conference on Thursday, noting that he would prefer it include exceptions for rape and incest. However, he also noted that “vetoing the bill wouldn’t accomplish what I would like to have, which is the exceptions for rape and incest.” Edwards has signed pro-life legislation in the past.
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