Lousiana Senate Approves “Heartbeat” Bill While Committee Creates New Criminal Penalties For Abortion Providers

Posted on April 25, 2012

RH Reality Check, April 25, 2012 by Robin Marty

Louisiana’s new bill requiring abortion providers to play audio of the heartbeat of an embryo or fetus prior to an abortion has passed the full Senate and is now heading to the House, according to a report from AM870.  The state already requires a woman to view an ultrasound prior to abortion, but has added this new addition to the restriction after declaring that the bill must be constitutional, since it is the same as the one used in Texas.

The full state senate Tuesday approved a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to first listen to the fetus’ heartbeat. Senator Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge) says the bill passes constitutional muster.

“It tracks the language of a law passed in Texas last session,” Broom said on the senate floor. “That law was upheld by a unanimous panel of the 5th Circuit federal Court of Appeals.”

It is also the same bill that was ruled unconstitutional in Oklahoma, but Broome apparently didn’t mention that part.

Now the Senate will next vote on a bill that will create new sentencing guidelines should an abortion be provided by someone who is not a licensed doctor.  SB 330 creates two new crimes: “criminal abortion” and “aggravated criminal abortion,” both punishable by jail time, rather than the civil penalties previously faced if either a medication or surgical abortion is performed by someone who is not a licensed physician or is performed outside of a licensed clinic.

“Criminal abortion” would net the provider a $5,000 to $50,000 fine and 5 years “hard time,” while “aggravated criminal abortion” is a $10,000 to $100,000 fine and 10 years.

Posted in: Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas