Hear the Heartbeat Act Passes Senate Floor!

Criminal Abortion Dismemberment Act (SB 330) Sails Through Committee

Greetings!  

Late Tuesday afternoon, SB 708, the Hear the Heartbeat Act authored by Senator Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge), passed the Senate floor by a 34-4 margin!

SB 708, a LARTL flagship piece of legislation drafted by the Bioethics Defense Fund, would: 

·         require abortion facilities to make the unborn child’s heartbeat audible to the woman prior to an abortion (unless the woman requests and signs a separate “opt-out” form).  

·         require abortion facilities to place the ultrasound screen in view of the woman (she has the choice to look or not) instead of having the screen turned away from the woman and the abortion employee “offering” the woman the chance to see the display (current law).  

·         require abortion facilities to perform the ultrasound 24 hours prior to an abortion instead of two hours prior (current law) 

Shortly before final passage, an unfriendly amendment offered by Senator Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge) that would have weakened the bill was defeated by a 30-7 measure.  Voting in favor of the weakening amendment were Senators Allain (R-Franklin), Claitor, Dorsey-Colomb (D-Baton Rouge), Heitmeier (D-New Orleans), Morrell (D-New Orleans), Murray (D-New Orleans), and Peterson (D-New Orleans).

The Claitor amendment would have left the ultrasound provision as it stands in law now, which faces the screen away from the woman and requires the abortion facility employee to offer the woman the opportunity to see the ultrasound screen. 

To fix this, SB 708 positions the screen in view of the woman, giving her the choice to look or not.  If SB 708 passes into law, the power would rest with the woman, not representatives of a business selling abortion.  Our goal is to ensure that the woman is as informed as possible before making the decision to have an abortion. 

Special thanks to Senator Sharon Weston Broome and all legislators who supported the bill and voted against the amendment.  The legislation now heads to a House committee.

To add to the day’s work, earlier this morning, SB 330, the Criminal Abortion Dismemberment Act authored by Senator Rick Ward (D-New Roads), sailed through Senate Judiciary C committee! [This act creates a specific crime for performing an abortion (the dismemberment of an unborn child) in the state of Louisiana if the abortionist is not licensed to practice medicine in Louisiana. This legislation clarifies the law and provides a District Attorney more ability to prosecute illegal abortionists.]

It was a successful day at the legislature, but all of our life-affirming bills have plenty of work ahead of them.  Please reach out and thank the Senators who stood for life and contact those who voted in favor of the Claitor amendment and against the bill as a whole.

We are proud to advance pro-life legislation at the Capitol.  We know these bills will save lives!

For a Pro-Life Louisiana,

Benjamin Clapper
Executive Director
Louisiana Right to Life