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La. Finalizes Bill Forcing Care for Brain-Dead Pregnant Women

La. Finalizes Bill Forcing Care for Brain-Dead Pregnant Women

June 3, 2014 — The Louisiana Legislature on Monday approved a bill (HB 1274) that would require physicians to continue medical support for brain-dead pregnant women until childbirth, the Baton Rogue Advocate reports. The bill now proceeds to Gov. Bobby Jindal (R).

The House voted 87-1 for the measure, after adding language specifying that an obstetrician must determine that the pregnant woman's bodily functions can reasonably be maintained to support the continued development of the fetus and that the fetus is at least at 20 weeks of gestation. The obstetrician would have to share this information with the woman's family members.

In addition, a six-person legislative compromise committee removed Senate language from the bill that would have allowed family members to make the final decision on whether physicians should continue providing care (Shuler, Baton Rouge Advocate, 6/3).

The only way the woman's or her family's wishes could override the state mandate to continue treatment would be if the woman's will included a do-not-resuscitate order specifically mentioning pregnancy, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune (Lane, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 6/2).

The bill also states that in cases of ambiguity, the law should be interpreted as to preserve human life.

After House approval, the state Senate passed the measure in a 31-2 vote (Baton Rouge Advocate, 6/3).