The scary thing about this bill is that a majority of the legislature rejected amendments to this bill that would have allowed for exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
Yesterday, the Louisiana State Senate approved by a vote of 30-7, Senate Bill 33, authored by Senator Ben Nevers (D-Bogalusa), which would outlaw all abortions in the state except when the life of the mother is in danger. The bill would subject the abortionist to criminal penalties, not the woman undergoing the abortion. This follows an abortion ban that was passed in South Dakota earlier in the year. Pro-life measures are not being introduced in multiple states as anti-abortion advocates try to take advantage of momentum in this divisive issue.
By a 20-17 vote, the Senate turned down an amendment to the bill that would have added exceptions for rape and incest. Back in 1991, the Legislature passed a law that banned abortions except in the case of rape, incest and when the life of the mother was in danger. The 1991 law was signed by Governor Roemer, but later reversed in federal court. This time, supporters of Nevers’ bill believe it will pass court tests because it is not scheduled to take effect until Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, is overturned.
With the appointment of Justices Alito and Roberts, the Supreme Court is definitely more conservative and more likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, but most analysts believe that a pro-life majority does not yet exist on the court. One more conservative Supreme Court Justice is probably needed for a pro-life majority and that could come if President Bush is given an opportunity to make another court appointment.
Louisiana is one of the most pro-life states in the country. A large majority of voters in Louisiana are opposed to abortion. The state has a large Catholic and evangelical Christian population. In Louisiana, almost all Republicans and most Democrats who are elected to statewide office are pro-life. Governor Kathleen Blanco, a pro-life Democrat, likes the Nevers’ bill because it does not take effect until Roe v. Wade is overturned. Blanco knows the electorate in the state and will not risk the negative political ramifications of vetoing the bill. Back in 1991, then Governor Buddy Roemer vetoed an anti-abortion bill with no exceptions. He was never forgiven by pro-life voters and the controversy contributed to his defeat at the polls later that year. Blanco does not want the same problems one year before her re-election campaign.
Blanco “likes” the provision in the Nevers’ bill which mandates that it take effect only after the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. Blanco believes that it is “realistic” because it will preclude lengthy and costly court challenges to the law. The bill now moves to the State House, where a pitched battle is certain to occur.
27 April 2006
This article comes from Jeff Crouere, a local political journalist in Louisiana: