BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Women seeking an abortion in Louisiana would have to get lengthy background information about the doctor performing the procedure, under a proposal that won unanimous support Tuesday from state senators.
The measure by Republican Sen. Beth Mizell, of Franklinton, would require the written information to include details about the physician’s board certifications, malpractice insurance and any disciplinary actions against the doctor.
Mizell called the bill , sent to the House with a 38-0 vote, a health safety measure for women.
Opponents during committee debate said the proposal aims to create difficulties for abortion access. No one spoke against the legislation on the Senate floor. But after the vote, New Orleans Democratic Sen. J.P. Morrell posted on Twitter that he didn’t support the measure. He said a few senators “were distracted” and “accidentally voted” for the bill.
After the Senate vote, the House backed a separate measure asking Louisiana voters to decide whether to amend the state constitution to say it doesn’t protect abortion rights.
“This amendment will give our constituency the opportunity to say that Louisiana loves life, that Louisiana supports our babies,” said Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson of Monroe, sponsor of the proposal.
The measure could become important if the U.S. Supreme Court ever reverses the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Supporters said if states get to determine whether abortion is allowed, courts couldn’t cite the state constitution to keep Louisiana from banning or limiting the procedure. Lawmakers already have enacted a state statute outlawing abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Abortion rights supporters oppose the legislation, saying it would lay the groundwork to end abortion access in Louisiana.
But no one spoke against the measure on the House floor Tuesday, where lawmakers sent the proposal to the Senate with a 78-10 vote. Gov. John Bel Edwards supports the constitutional amendment.
Five states have adopted similar constitutional language.
House Bill 425 and Senate Bill 221: www.legis.la.gov