Louisiana lawmakers pass ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban with no rape or incest exception

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The Louisiana state legislature on Wednesday approved a “heartbeat” abortion bill with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, sending the measure to Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), NBC News reported.

The law would be among the strictest in the nation and would ban women from terminating a pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, typically around six weeks. 

The bill was passed on a 79-23 vote in the House after intense debate. The Senate had already approved the bill.{mosads}

The House rejected an amendment on Wednesday that would have provided an exception in cases of rape or incest, though the ban does include an exception for pregnancies deemed “medically futile.”

In a statement on Wednesday, Edwards confirmed his intention to sign the bill.

“In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years,” he said. “As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue.”

Louisiana would become the fifth state in recent months to pass a heartbeat abortion law, joining Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio. A flurry of other states have passed or taken up their own abortion laws in recent months.

Proponents of the anti-abortion laws hope their passage will force the Supreme Court to take up a challenge to Roe v. Wade, which established a woman’s right to abortion in 1973.

The ban in Louisiana would take effect only if a similar bill in Mississippi is upheld in a federal appeals court, according to the bill’s text.

A federal judge last week issued a preliminary injunction blocking Mississippi’s anti-abortion law from going into effect, saying it infringes on women’s health care rights.

Updated 6:53 p.m.

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