BATON ROUGE, La. — A bid to ban abortions after 15 weeks is expected to become law in Louisiana.
The Senate on Wednesday voted 24-1 to outlaw 15-week abortions, and Gov. John Bel Edwards said he intends to sign the measure into law.
The proposal will only take effect, however, if a federal court upholds a similar ban in Mississippi.
Democratic Sen. John Milkovich, who sponsored the bill, has said he wants to see the state forbid all abortions.
His proposal imposes a prison sentence of up to two years for someone who performs the procedure after 15 weeks. Current state law allows for a person who "commits the crime of abortion" to get up to a decade. A woman can't be criminally charged for having the procedure under either the current or proposed law.
Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards says he intends to sign the 15-week abortion ban.
"That is still my inclination. I am pro-life," he said on his monthly radio show Wednesday.
Advocates slammed the bill after the vote.
"Banning access to abortion at 15 weeks is a flat-out violation of Roe v. Wade and Louisiana knows it," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, referencing the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion. "So little faith does Louisiana have in the constitutionality of their abortion ban that it won't go into effect unless they get an OK from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit."
Mississippi enacted a 15-week abortion ban in March. It was immediately challenged by the state's only abortion clinic and a federal judge put the law on hold. That state now faces what's expected to be a protracted legal battle.
Lawmakers also have asked Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to file a legal brief in federal court to support Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. The Senate voted 24-5 in favor of the resolution's final passage Wednesday.