Women seeking an abortion in Louisiana will have a 24-hour waiting period between a state-mandated ultrasound and an abortion procedure pending the near-certain signature of Gov. Bobby Jindal on one of two abortion restriction measures that sailed through the Legislature.
The Associated Press reports that Senate Bill 708, authored by Democratic state Sen. Sharon Weston Broome of Baton Rouge, requires that women seeking an abortion first undergo an ultrasound, then wait 24 hours before the procedure can take place. It passed 33-3 in the Senate and 96-1 in the House:
During the sonogram, women are asked whether they want to view and get a photo of the image. Under the planned changes, the doctor also will be required to ask the woman whether she wants to hear any sounds from the fetal heart monitor. Women can opt out of hearing the fetal heartbeat by signing a form saying they don’t want to listen.
Senate President John Alario’s SB 766, meanwhile, makes it a crime for doctors to abort fetuses beyond 20 weeks of fertilization, or roughly 22 weeks in to the 40-week gestation calendar, according to The Times-Picayune. It passed unanimously in the House and 38-1 in the Senate:
Alario has accepted revisions, sought by the Louisiana State Medical Society, which would absolve physicians from any penalties if they perform abortions they deem necessary to protect the life of a pregnant woman. Otherwise, a violation would subject a physician to fines and imprisonment, along with professional penalties. It is not clear how such a case would be prosecuted.
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