As the country awaits the Supreme Court’s decision on overturning its landmark Roe V. Wade decision, several states are working overtime to push through legislation that would make it nearly impossible for women to access safe and legal abortion care if federal protection goes away. Louisiana is close to passing extremely restrictive legislation that would cause abortion providers in the state to face stiff criminal penalties, and the Biden Administration has come out to say that they are not here for any of it.
Senate Bill 342, which was overwhelmingly approved by the Louisiana state legislature on June 2, would ban abortion in most cases without making exceptions for rape or incest. Doctors would only be allowed to perform abortions in cases where the mother’s life is threatened. The law would also close abortion clinics in the state and leave doctors who perform abortions to face between one and ten years in prison and fines between $10,000 and $100,000.
The state’s Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, says he supports legislation that makes exceptions for rape or incest. But that is unlikely to stop him from signing the bill into law. “Vetoing the bill wouldn’t accomplish what I would like to have, which is the exceptions for rape and incest,” he said.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to Louisiana’s action, condemning the bill’s passage and reaffirming the President’s commitment to making sure women retain the right to make decisions that impact their bodies. “The Louisiana legislature has taken the latest step in a growing attack against the fundamental freedoms of Americans,” she said in a June 6 statement. “The President is committed to protecting the constitutional rights of Americans afforded by Roe for nearly 50 years, and ensuring that women can make their own choices about their lives, bodies, and families.”
But as Democrats in Congress try to codify Roe V. Wade and expand protections for women’s access to safe and legal abortions, they face strong opposition from their Republican counterparts who are laser focused on taking the decision away from the woman and leaving it with lawmakers, who, in case you aren’t paying attention, are overwhelmingly white and male.