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Democratic Louisiana Governor Signs 15-Week Abortion Ban

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaks during funeral services for Baton Rouge police corporal Montrell Jackson, who was killed on July 17, at the Living Faith Christian Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 25, 2016. (Patrick Dennis/Pool/Reuters)

Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards, one of the country’s few remaining pro-life Democrats, approved one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the country on Wednesday, signing into law a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Under the law, which is likely to go into effect only if court challenges to a similar Mississippi law fail, a person who “commits the crime of abortion” after 15 weeks would be subject to up to two years in jail, but women procuring abortions would not be punished.

The bill was sponsored by another pro-life Democrat, state Senator John Milkovich, and pro-life groups celebrated the bipartisan nature of the process.

“We thank all pro-life lawmakers in Louisiana — especially pro-life Democrats like Governor Edwards and State Senator [John] Milkovich (D) for passing this legislation. They followed through on their pro-life principles and united across party lines to protect unborn children,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List. “Louisiana is leading the way in the bipartisan effort to bring our nation’s laws into line with basic human decency.”

Twenty states altogether have adopted 15-week bans so far. Iowa, however, has the most stringent abortion ban: It prohibits the procedure at six weeks of pregnancy, just when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Planned Parenthood immediately sued Iowa over the law when it passed earlier this month.

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