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Louisiana

Abortion Bans

NEAR-TOTAL

Louisiana amended and re-enacted its pre-Roe abortion ban in 1991, but the ban remains unconstitutional and unenforceable.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. A 14:87 (Enacted 1942; Amended and Re-enacted 1991).

The ban prohibits abortion by anyone other than the woman, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or for cases in which the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  A rape victim must: (1) report the rape to law enforcement officials within seven days of having the capacity to report the rape; (2) obtain treatment within five days of having the capacity to obtain treatment to "prevent pregnancy" and to determine that she was not pregnant prior to the rape; and (3) terminate the pregnancy within 13 weeks of conception.  An incest victim must: (1) have the crime reported to law-enforcement officials; and (2) terminate the pregnancy within 13 weeks of conception.  A person who provides a prohibited abortion will be imprisoned at hard labor for one to 10 years and will be fined from $10,000 to $100,000.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. A 14:87 (Enacted 1942; Amended and Re-enacted 1991).

A court held that this ban is unconstitutional and unenforceable because it imposes an undue burden on women seeking abortion.  Sojourner T. v. Edwards, 974 F.2d 27 (5th Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 972 (1993).

A court held additional provisions of the ban unenforceable: (1) a person who publicizes the availability of abortion services will be imprisoned for up to one year, fined up to $5000, or both; and (2) a person who distributes or advertises abortifacients will be imprisoned for up to six months, fined up to $500, or both.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. AA 14:87.4 (Enacted 1973), 14:88 (Enacted 1942); Weeks v. Connick, 733 F.Supp. 1036 (E.D. La. 1990).

NEAR-TOTAL WITH DELAYED EFFECTIVE DATE ("TRIGGER" BAN)

In 2006, Louisiana enacted a near-total ban on abortion, to become effective if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, or if a constitutional amendment is adopted that allows states to ban abortion.  The ban prohibits any person from administering to any woman or prescribing or procuring for any woman any medicine, drug, or substance with intent to procure an abortion, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life.  The ban also includes a very limited health exception for circumstances under which an abortion is necessary "to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman."  A person who provides a prohibited abortion could be imprisoned for up to 10 years, and fined up to $100,000.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann AA 40:1299.30 (Enacted 2006), 14:87 (Enacted 1964, Amended 2006).

AFTER 12 WEEKS

Louisiana outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. 

Louisiana's law makes abortion after 20 weeks a criminal act, unless necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the woman or in the case of a medically futile pregnancy.  Physicians in violation of the law would be subject to up to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000, or disciplinary action.  In addition, the law allows the woman to bring a civil suit against the physician.  S.B. 766, 38th Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (La. 2012) (Enacted 2012).

BAN ON ABORTION PROCEDURE

Louisiana outlaws a safe second-trimester abortion procedure with no exception to protect a woman's health.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. A 14:32.10, 40:1299.35.17 (Enacted 2007).

The Louisiana law makes the provision of certain previability, second-trimester abortion procedures a felony and imposes a criminal penalty of imprisonment at hard labor for one to 10 years and a fine of $10,000 to $100,000 unless necessary to save the life of the woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.  La. Rev. Stat. Ann. A 14:32.10, 40:1299.35.17 (Enacted 2007).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits the provision of certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure.  Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.





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