SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Pro-life advocates are celebrating after the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of a “fetal heartbeat” abortion bill.
The proposal, as it now advances to Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk, bans abortions after six weeks once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
That’s before most women know they are pregnant.
There are no exceptions for incest or rape; a proposed amendment that would have allowed those exceptions failed.
Just moments after his bill passed, Louisiana state Sen. John Milkovich, of Shreveport, spoke on the steps of the state Capitol and promised to continue to fight for unborn children.
“The abortion industry has taken its war against our children to our very doorstep. And we have determined to take the fight to the abortion cartel through the law and prayer to stop the horrific infanticide being inflicted upon our children.
“Children are formed in the image of God," he continued. "Children are our hope. Children are our future. Children are our destiny.”
Melissa Gibson, president of the Shreveport-Bossier chapter of the National Organization for Women, said she isn’t surprised by the vote.
“Louisiana is going to spend who knows how many thousands of dollars trying to defend this clearly unconstitutional bill," she observed.
"This is par for the course. They don’t have money to take care of actual people, but they always have money to try to defend these absolutely ridiculous bills.”
Shreveport-Bossier NOW trains clinic escorts to go with women seeking abortions. Gibson said those women understand their choices.
“It’s ridiculous that in 2019 people are using pregnant people’s bodies to legislate their form of morality."
Shreveport has one of the state’s only remaining abortion clinics: Hope Medical Group for Women.
“It has been apparent for some time the so-called ‘pro-life’ contingent is determined to waste scarce state resources by passing blatantly unconstitutional laws," the clinic’s administrator, Kathaleen Pittman, said via e-mail.
"Louisiana continues to rank as one of the highest states in the nation in maternal deaths and childhood poverty. This is where our scant resources should be directed.”
Louisiana Right to Life also released a statement praising state representatives for protecting the unborn.
“Abortion stops the beating heart of a precious unborn child, and our nation must bring an end to this injustice. We look forward to Gov. John Bel Edwards signing this bill into law," said Benjamin Clapper, the group’s executive director.
The ACLU of Louisiana vowed to fight to ensure the law doesn’t take effect.
The bill now heads to Edwards’ desk, where he says he will sign it.