Louisiana lawmakers advance 'heartbeat' abortion bill

Louisiana lawmakers advance 'heartbeat' abortion bill

The Louisiana state Senate on Monday advanced a "heartbeat" abortion bill that would ban abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. 

The bill passed 31-5 and now heads to the state's House of Representatives, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported.

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The bill will only go into effect if courts uphold a similar law in Mississippi, after state senators added a “trigger” clause that would make the bill dependent on the outcome of legal challenges to that state's heartbeat law.

The provision, which is supported by the office of Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry (R), is an attempt to prevent the state from becoming embroiled in expensive litigation, according to the newspaper.

"We give God the thanks for this victory," state Sen. John Milkovich (D), who introduced the bill, said in a statement. "This is another victory in defense of the lives of the unborn and another blow upon the abortion cartel’s effort to assault the next generation with infanticide.” 

Opponents of the bill have called it unconstitutional and an attempt at banning abortion outright.

"[T]his proposal shows that the ... Legislature will stop at nothing to restrict women’s rights," said Michelle Erenberg, the leader of women's health organization Lift Louisiana, in a statement to The Advocate.

"They should stop wasting time and money passing blatantly unconstitutional bills, and instead focus on legislation that would really help women and families like paid family leave and raising the minimum wage,” she said. 

The action comes as a series of other states have introduced similar legislation. On Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a heartbeat bill into law