Abortion: Louisiana's Punching Bag

Governor Blanco says would sign ban on abortion that is moving through hurricane-battered state’s senate

If you read an Associated Press interview with Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco on June 1, you might be under the impression that the Gulf Coast state has little in the way of, oh, say, hurricane rebuilding to do – including the consequent social service rehabbing – freeing state lawmakers to take up far weightier matters, like criminalizing safe and legal abortion services. Yes, that's right: During an interview last week Blanco said she would sign a ban on abortion that is moving through the state Senate. The bill would place a near-total ban on abortion, including an exception to the law only in cases where a woman's life is at risk, but the bill does not include an exception in cases of rape or incest. Such exceptions would have "been reasonable," Blanco told the AP, but said she wouldn't reject the measure just because they weren't included.

If the bill makes it to Blanco's hand, and she actually signs it, the measure will likely then travel to Washington, D.C., for a date with the U.S. Supreme Court, which would have to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade reproductive rights decision in order to become law. Earlier this year South Dakota lawmakers passed a similar ban, which is wending its way to the Supremes. Under the Louisiana measure, which passed out of the state house last week on an 85-17 vote, doctors that violate the ban would face up to 10 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.

Not surprisingly, news of Blanco's position did not sit well with Planned Parenthood of Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta. "Elected officials should stop playing politics with women's safety and start paying attention to the needs of this state," said Julie Mickelberry, public affairs director of the state Planned Parenthood. "We need homes, good education, and sound health-care policy. We don't need laws that threaten women's health." would sign ban on abortion that is moving through hurricane-battered state's senate

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

abortionLouisiana, Kathleen Blanco, ban on abortion, Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood of Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta, Julie Mickelberry

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