The bill was pushed by Senate President John Alario, who is not a doctor but still declared the state’s interest in protecting “the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates they are capable of feeling pain.” The problem with this declaration, obviously, is that the substantial medical evidence indicates that the fetal structures necessary to feel pain are not developed until at least the 25th week.
When such statements by legislators are adopted as fact a court interpreting the law may look to them for guidance in their decision. Medically unsupported claims can suddenly become “evidence” in a judicial opinion, which is likely the exact intent of the right on these kinds of bills.
Doctors who violate the ban would face a prison sentence of up to two years.
The bill now heads to the House for approval. If enacted Louisiana would be the seventh state with such a ban.
Photo from IvkoandRuth via flickr.