Blanco expected to sign strict abortion into law soon

Associated Press
04:12 PM CDT on Monday, June 5, 2006

BATON ROUGE -- Gov. Kathleen Blanco was expected to sign a strict abortion ban into law after the Senate on Monday gave the measure final legislative approval.

Blanco has said she planned to sign the bill that would ban nearly all abortions in Louisiana, though only if the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion rights ruling is overturned. The bill by Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, could only take effect under two circumstances: the U.S. Constitution is amended to allow states to ban abortion; or the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade.

Under the measure, doctors found guilty of performing abortions would face up to 10 years in prison and fines of $100,000.

Originally, the bill would have allowed abortions only to save the life of the mother, with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. The House added a provision to allow abortions in cases where the mother's health faces permanent harm.

The Senate voted 27-0 to approve the change and send it to Blanco.