La. House Passes 20-Week Abortion Ban

June 4, 2012 — The Louisiana House on Friday unanimously approved a bill (SB 766) that would prohibit abortion beyond 20 weeks after fertilization, Reuters/Columbus Republic reports (Finn, Reuters/Columbus Republic, 6/1).

The bill includes exceptions to protect the woman's life and when a pregnancy is considered "medically futile" because the infant will not survive after birth. The bill also includes a very narrow health exception (Shuler, Baton Rouge Advocate, 6/1).

The legislation, introduced by Senate President John Alario (R), is based on the disputed claim that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks. Physicians convicted of violating the bill's provisions could face fines and up to two years in prison.

Because of a minor technical amendment, the bill must return to the Senate, where lawmakers previously gave it unanimous approval. A final vote is expected in the next few days, according to Reuters/Columbus Republic (Reuters/Columbus Republic, 6/1).