By Piper Hutchison, Louisiana Illuminator
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has signed some of the nation’s strictest abortion restrictions into law, increasing the criminal penalties for abortion providers under the state’s trigger laws.
Louisiana is one of 13 states with trigger laws, which go into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Under a law signed by former Gov. Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat, most abortions would become illegal almost immediately upon the overturning of Roe.
The original 2006 statute allows for prison terms of one to five years fines of $5,000 to $50,000 for abortion providers.
Senate Bill 342, sponsored by Sen. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, increases the penalties to one to 10 years of prison time and fines of $10,000 to $100,000.
Neither the original statute or the newly signed bill have exceptions for rape or incest.
“My position on abortion has been unwavering,” Edwards wrote in a press release. “I am pro-life and have never hidden from that fact. This does not belie my belief that there should be an exception to the prohibition on abortion for victims of rape and incest.”
Edwards said that vetoing Jackson’s bill would do more harm than good, as it includes new exceptions for ectopic and medically futile pregnancies.
Edwards also pointed to the bill’s definition of pregnancy as beginning at implantation, rather than fertilization, as it was defined under previous statute. That definition would mean that some types of contraception could have been banned under the existing law.
The state’s trigger laws have come under increased scrutiny following the leak of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion in, which indicated that the court is likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.
That leak meant that what was previously an academic discussion among Louisiana politicos became a real consideration on the lives of people who can become pregnant.
A decision on the case is expected this month.