Thursday, April 27, 2006
Maybe they'll make us the capital of Talimerica. . .
Louisiana Senate approves strict ban on abortion
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Louisiana's state Senate on Wednesday approved a near-total ban on abortion, rejecting a move to allow the procedure for victims of rape and incest.
The bill would outlaw all abortions except to save the life of the mother. Sen. Ben Nevers, the sponsor, argued against adding any other exception, saying his "heart goes out to" sex crime victims but their wishes are less important than his goal of preventing abortion.
"Lord knows I would never want to hurt a mother, in any way. Lord knows I would never want to hurt a victim of rape or incest," said Nevers, D-Bogalusa.
"A crime committed by a rapist should not result in the death of an unborn child."
Discussion on the bill illustrated the Senate's overwhelming opposition to abortion rights -- no senator argued against the idea of an abortion ban.
The only debate was sparked by Sen. Joel Chaisson, who tried to add the rape and incest exceptions. Otherwise, he said, Nevers' bill was too extreme to win passage in the House.
"Unless there's a rape and incest exception, this law may never go into effect," said Chaisson, D-Destrehan.
Senators rejected Chaisson's amendment with a 17-20 vote, then sent the bill to the House with a vote of 30-7.
Louisiana already has an abortion ban on the books, but the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in 1992. If Nevers' bill becomes law, it would only go into effect if the high court overturns its 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that established the right to an abortion.
Under the measure, doctors found guilty of performing abortions would face up to 10 years in prison and fines of $100,000.
The bill is similar to a South Dakota law passed earlier this year that is expected to land before the U.S. Supreme Court. If the high court takes up such an appeal, it would constitute a reconsideration of its Roe v. Wade ruling. A majority of the Supreme Court's nine justices have voted to uphold Roe v. Wade in the past.
Nevers said some opposition to his measure has disappeared because he amended it to allay concerns that the bill would provoke lawsuits -- and cost the state money -- if it passed. Nevers changed the measure to give it a "trigger" mechanism, meaning it would only go into effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned or if a federal constitutional amendment outlawing abortion is ratified.
Voting against the measure were Sens. Diana Bajoie, D-New Orleans; Jay Dardenne, R-Baton Rouge; Cleo Fields, D-Baton Rouge; Ken Hollis, R-Metairie; Lydia Jackson, D-Shreveport; Charles "C.D." Jones, D-Monroe; and Ed Murray, D-New Orleans. Dardenne, a longtime abortion opponent who said he supports the rape and incest exceptions, later filed paperwork with the Senate saying he had meant to vote in favor of the ban.
A competing bill, by Rep. Tim Burns, R-Mandeville, includes rape and incest exceptions but has not come up for a vote.
Louisiana State Legislature -- for copies of the full bill, plus email addies for all the lovely people involved.
So, now this goes before the House, where it will doubtlessly pass. Adding in the trigger mechanism pretty much guaranteed that. After all, now it won't cost the state anything, the public gets lulled into a sense of safety since Roe is still in effect, and the politicians get to say they're "pro-life." Just, you know, not pro-life when it's an actual living woman involved.
Do these people honestly believe being forced to bear the child of a rapist isn't harmful? What's going to happen when that rapist, who won't be convicted most of the time, decides he wants visitation? Or custody? It won't be harmful to the victim to have him in her life for the rest of hers, will it? What if she wants to put the baby up for adoption, but he won't let her? Just because a man is a rapist, even a convicted rapist, doesn't mean the courts will think him an unfit parent. Doesn't mean he won't have parental rights. Doesn't mean he can't destroy a woman's life forever. But those things aren't as important as a little ball of cells. *sigh* Honestly, how can they expect women to live that way?