La. House Advances Bill Defining Coercing of Minor's Abortion as Child Abuse

May 16, 2013 — The Louisiana House on Monday unanimously approved a measure (HB 278) that would define coercing a minor into an abortion as an act of child abuse, the Houma Courier reports. The bill now advances to the Senate (Houma Courier, 5/14).

The bill -- proposed by state Rep. Valerie Hodges (R) -- defines coercion as the use of force, intimidation, threat of force, or deprivation of food or shelter. The bill would not allow exceptions if the girl's health or life is at risk, except in cases of ectopic pregnancies, but it would allow parents to suggest a daughter obtain an abortion in cases of fetal demise or if she is in the process of miscarrying (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/3).

Hodges said in an email to the New Orleans Times-Picayune that the bill would "allow the Department of Children and Family Services to intervene to stop a coerced abortion in exactly the same way it can intervene to stop child abuse" (McGaughy, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 5/13).