Louisiana has become the latest US state to pass a law protecting unborn babies from abortion.
Last Wednesday, House representatives voted 79 to 23 in favour of a Bill protecting life after a heartbeat can be detected, from about six weeks.
State Governor John Bel Edwards signed it into law on Thursday.
Abortion will now be permitted only if the mother’s life or health is at serious irreversible risk, or if the pregnancy is deemed “medically futile”.
Doctors who act contrary to this rule could face up to two years in prison, as well as having their medical licence removed.
Louisiana joins Ohio, Mississippi, Kentucky and Georgia, which all passed similar ‘heartbeat bills’ this year.
But the law will only take hold in the state if neighbouring Mississippi’s law, which has been challenged by pro-abortionists, is upheld by the court of appeal.
‘A better Louisiana’
Louisiana already has over 1,000 relevant legal requirements, including compulsory ultrasounds, counselling, and targeted regulations of abortion providers.
Another Bill nearing Gov Edward’s desk would also prevent non-state-licenced abortion clinics from providing medication-induced abortions.
Gov Edwards called on the overwhelming majority of legislators who supported the ‘heartbeat Bill’ to join him “in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us”.
Meanwhile, a strong pro-abortion law has been passed in Illinois, allowing abortion up until the point of birth.
The law will also remove protections for babies born alive after a failed abortion.
Pro-life campaigner Jill Stanek called it “the most extreme expansion of abortion on demand in the entire country – more radical even than New York’s”.
She said the Bill would “expressly declare that the unborn child has no rights”.