BATON ROUGE, La. — The Louisiana House of Representatives has approved a bill banning dilation and extraction abortions (D&E) and well as a measure that would prohibit killing babies with Downs Syndrome or other survivable conditions, while leaving other reasons for abortion legal.
H.B. 1081, also known as the “Louisiana Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act” was sponsored by Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Bossier City, and passed unanimously on Thursday.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform a dismemberment abortion and thereby kill an unborn child unless necessary to prevent serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” it reads.
The bill defines a dismemberment abortion as to “purposely dismember a living unborn child and extract him or her one piece at a time from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or a similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off or apart.”
The legislation notes that the prohibition does not ban other abortion methods, as it “does not include an abortion which uses suction to dismember the body of an unborn child by vacuuming fetal parts into a collection container.” Suction aspiration abortions are common in the first trimester.
Johnson told the Manship News Service that he proposed the bill because of his opposition to the pain the unborn child feels in being dismembered.
“Every year unborn children are subjected to a gruesome practice. The fetus in many cases dies just as an adult would. It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb. There are many who say this is the preferred method not because it better but because it is cheaper,” he said.
The House also approved H.B. 1019 on Thursday, which passed 75-1. Sponsored by Rep. Rick Edmonds, R-Baton Rouge, it bans abortions in instances where the child has been diagnosed with a genetic abnormality such as Down Syndrome or dwarfism.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, it shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion with knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because the unborn child has been diagnosed with either a genetic abnormality or a potential for a genetic abnormality,” it reads.
The bill notes that the prohibition pertains to “any defect, disease, or disorder that is inherited genetically.”
“The term includes, without limitation, any physical disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, Down syndrome, albinism, amelia, and any other type of physical, mental, or intellectual disability, abnormality, or disease,” it says.
Edmonds, a pastor, said that he introduced the bill as his own son has a genetic condition. He also shared that one of the kindest members of his church has Down Syndrome.
“If I would’ve taken the medical advice, my son never wouldn’t have been an adult,” he stated. “Life is hard, but I also want to add to that that many of the things in life that are hard, they make life fruitful.”
Both bills now will be sent to the Senate for a vote, and if approved will go to the desk of Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.