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Nation & World

Louisiana's Democratic Governor Signs Abortion Ban Into Law

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he signed legislation that bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he signed legislation that bans abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Updated at 5:39 a.m. ET Friday

Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday made Louisiana the latest state to ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

It came a day after the Louisiana House approved the strict new abortion measure barring the procedure once a heartbeat is detectable, a point before many women may realize they are pregnant.

Edwards had said in a statement Wednesday that he "ran for governor as a pro-life candidate," and intended to sign the abortion ban.

"As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone," he said.

More than a dozen Democratic lawmakers approved the bill, along with all of the Republicans.

The Louisiana legislation does not include an exception for a pregnancy due to rape or incest. It does allow abortions to prevent a woman's death or if the pregnancy presents "a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." It also allows an abortion if the pregnancy is "medically futile."

Six other states — Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri and Alabama — have recently passed laws banning abortion. The Missouri law bars abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. Alabama's law is considered the toughest in the nation, carrying a penalty of up to 99 years for doctors who would defy the ban.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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