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Louisiana: Did You Know?

Did you know that in 2006 Louisiana passed a law that would outlaw abortion in nearly all circumstances if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

In 2006, the Louisiana legislature enacted a near-total ban on abortion, and Gov. Kathleen Blanco signed the bill into law.  This abortion ban with a delayed effective date, sometimes called a "trigger" law, is designed to take effect if Roe is overturned. (Learn more about this law.)  This ban on abortion in nearly all circumstances does not even contain exceptions for women who are rape or incest victims, or whose health is threatened.  Gov. Blanco signed the ban into law less than three months after Gov. Mike Rounds (R-SD) of South Dakota signed a ban on abortion that supporters touted as a direct challenge to Roe.

Outrageously, this is the third time since 1991 that Louisiana has passed a law intended to outlaw abortion.  In 1991, Louisiana passed a near-total ban on abortion that was a direct challenge to Roe, at a time when changes on the Supreme Court had led observers to believe the Court might overturn the landmark decision.  The ban was challenged and is not enforceable, but it remains on the books.  (Learn more about this ban.) And Louisiana already had a "trigger" law on the books when it passed this new law in 2006. 

This latest ban also exposed the hypocrisy of the anti-choice movement, because while they voted to criminalize abortion, Louisiana's anti-choice politicians rejected measures to improve women's access to birth control and therefore make abortion less necessary.  For example, the Louisiana House defeated an amendment that would have allowed pharmacists to provide emergency contraception, often called the "morning-after" pill, by a vote of 22-80.  Instead of passing a measure that would promote women's access to contraception and reduce the need for abortion, the Louisiana House and Senate chose to endanger women by enacting another abortion ban.

S.B. 33, 2006 Leg., 32nd Sess. (La. 2006); Jeremy Alford, Louisiana Governor Plans to Sign Anti-Abortion Law, NY Times, June 7, 2006; Marsha Shuler, House Endorses Abortion Bill - Near-total Ban Makes Exception Only in Mother's Health, The Advocate, June 1, 2006, at A11.

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