NOLA.com, June 7, 2012
BATON ROUGE — Gov. Bobby Jindal signed bills Thursday increasing the waiting time between a mandatory ultrasound and an abortion, requiring abortion providers to describe the results of that procedure to the woman and offer to let her hear the fetus’ heartbeat and prohibiting anyone who is not a physician from performing abortions.
The new restrictions add to requirements that are already considered some of the most stringent abortion regulations in the country, according to groups that support abortion rights.
Most of the new restrictions were contained in Senate Bill 708 by Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge. The bill introduces a new requirement that the heartbeat of the fetus be made audible during an examination unless the woman specifically opts out of that requirement.
The bill also requires an ultrasound be performed 24 hours before an abortion rather than the two hours now in state law.
Doctors also would be required to describe the images on the ultrasound to the woman unless she affirms in writing that she was a victim of rape or incest and reported the crime to authorities.
That bill becomes law Aug. 1, but the restrictions do not go into effect until 60 days later in part so that the Department of Health and Hospitals can publish the forms required by the law.
Senate Bill 330 by Sen. Rick Ward III, D-Port Allen, would prohibit anyone who is not a physician from performing an abortion. That bill goes into effect on Aug. 1.
The governor also signed the three bills that made up his ethics package for the year, including a measure giving the Board of Ethics the right to appeal some cases but requiring it to pick up potentially substantial legal fees if it loses those cases.