Louisiana Senate Advances 15-Week Abortion Ban, Following Mississippi’s Lead

The Louisiana Senate approved a bill on Wednesday that would ban abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, threatening doctors who perform such abortions with up to 10 years in prison and $100,000 in fines. The Louisiana bill is explicitly based off one that was passed in Mississippi last month and was swiftly blocked by a federal judge. Louisiana lawmakers added an amendment to their bill to prevent it from taking effect until courts rule on Mississippi’s law.

As we reported earlier this year, the national Religious Right group Alliance Defending Freedom has said that the Mississippi bill was the first step in its strategy to introduce progressively more restrictive abortion bans in “carefully targeted states.” An ADF attorney told an anti-choice gathering in January that “once we get these first-trimester limitations in place, we’re going to go for a complete ban on abortion except to save the life of the mother.”

ADF has been circumspect about its role in crafting Mississippi’s bill, telling Salon simply, “From time to time, lawmakers ask ADF attorneys to review the constitutionality of proposed legislation.”

A One News Now story on the Louisiana bill says that the Mississippi Center for Public Policy “helped lawmaker’s write Mississippi’s law.” MCPP is a member of the State Policy Network, an affiliation of state conservative think tanks that exchange ideas on legislation.

One key difference between the Louisiana and Mississippi measures is that Mississippi’s law bans abortion after “15 weeks’ gestation,” or 15 weeks after the start of a woman’s last menstrual period, which is the measurement used by most medical professionals. Louisiana’s bill would ban the procedure “15 weeks after conception,” which makes it closer to a 17-week ban.