BATON ROUGE — A bid to ban abortions after 15 weeks has become law in Louisiana.
A spokesman for Gov. John Bel Edwards said Wednesday that the Democrat has signed the bill , which would only take effect if a federal court upholds a similar law in Mississippi.
The measure imposes a prison sentence of up to two years for someone who performs the procedure after 15 weeks. A woman who has an abortion could not be criminally charged under the bill.
Democratic Sen. John Milkovich, who sponsored the legislation, said the state is taking a step in the right direction. He has repeatedly said he wants to see Louisiana ban abortions outright.
"We thank and commend our pro-life governor for signing this bill and once again taking a stand for life," he said. "This is an important step forward in Louisiana's fight to protect the unborn."
Reproductive health advocates have slammed the bill throughout the legislative process, calling it a blatant violation of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized abortion.
"It is painfully clear that anti-abortion state legislators will stop at nothing to push their radical agenda, despite growing evidence that these laws harm women," said Michelle Erenberg, director of the advocacy group Lift Louisiana. She made those comments in a news release announcing a public education campaign about the state's abortion restrictions.
Mississippi enacted a 15-week abortion ban in March. It was immediately challenged and a federal judge put it on hold. That state now faces what's expected to be a long legal battle.
Lawmakers also passed a resolution earlier this month asking Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to file a legal brief in federal court to support Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. Landry's spokeswoman says he intends to file the brief.