BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana senators say they want a federal court to approve the most restrictive abortion policy in the country before a similar measure would take effect in their state.
The Louisiana Senate voted 31-3 Tuesday to ban abortions after 15 weeks under the stipulation that the rule would take effect only after a legal battle over the same policy plays out over a measure approved by Mississippi and now facing a court challenge. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he’s inclined to sign the 15-week bill into law. The measure is moving to the House for consideration.
Mississippi enacted a 15-week abortion ban in March. It was immediately challenged by the state’s only abortion clinic and a federal judge put the law on hold. That state now faces what is expected to be a protracted legal battle.
Louisiana Sen. John Milkovich’s bill to narrow the time frame for a woman to have an abortion has raised concerns. Some said it could unintentionally weaken Louisiana’s existing laws against abortion and land the state in a costly lawsuit.
But a Senate floor change eased those concerns Tuesday as lawmakers added provisions to wait until a federal appeals court ruling is reached on Mississippi’s law — and to allow Louisiana to immediately ban abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court should repeal the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
“This is a great step forward for us to protect babies after 15 weeks when the abortions are absolutely brutal,” said Milkovich, a Democrat.
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