Abortion in Louisiana is illegal immediately after Supreme Court ruling: Here's what it means

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Abortion became illegal in Louisiana immediately Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its historic Roe v. Wade decision that guaranteed women the right to terminate their pregnancies for the past 50 years.

Louisiana's "trigger law" that was updated and signed by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards on June 21 "shall become effective immediately upon ... any decision of the Supreme Court of the United States which overrules, in whole or in part, Roe v. Wade."

All three of Louisiana's abortion clinics — Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, Women's Health Care Center in New Orleans and Hope Medical Group in Shreveport — immediately stopped performing abortions Friday when the decision was announced.

In this May 12, 2022 file photo, anti-abortion rights advocates rallied at the Louisiana Capitol.
In this May 12, 2022 file photo, anti-abortion rights advocates rallied at the Louisiana Capitol.

Drug-induced abortions, which now account for about half of all abortions, are also illegal.

There are no legal exceptions for rape or incest, although there is an exception to save the life of the pregnant mother.

Louisiana law specifically exempts pregnant women from prosecution but provides maximum criminal penalties for doctors or others who terminate pregnancies of $200,000 fines and 15 years in jail for late-term abortions.

“I am and have always been unabashedly pro-life and opposed to abortion," Edwards said in a statement. "However, I understand that people on both sides of this complex issue hold deeply personal beliefs, and I respect that not everyone, including many in my own party, agrees with my position.

"While we are still reviewing the decision issued by the court, Louisiana has had a trigger law in place since 2006 that would outlaw abortion, without exception for rape and incest, should the United States Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade."

More: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signs abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest

Emergency contraception drugs like what are known as "morning after pills" remain legal.

"Louisiana is committed to protecting life and supporting moms," said Democratic Monroe Sen. Katrina Jackson, whose bill updated the state's 2006 abortion trigger law.

Jackson also previously authored the amendment declaring there is no right to and no funding of abortion in the Louisiana Constitution that 62% of voters approved in 2020.

But others, like Louisiana's only Democratic Congressman Troy Carter of New Orleans, considers the Supreme Court reversal a setback for women's healthcare and individual rights.

“Today the Supreme Court acted not to expand, but to take away the rights and freedoms of the American people for the first time in our nation’s history," Carter said. "Today, six members of the Supreme Court have inserted themselves between patients and doctors. They have interrupted these private conversations with far-right legal principles that limit personal healthcare decisions like when to start a family."

Louisiana's strict abortion trigger law update was attacked by the White House after it was passed by the Legislature.

Read this: Biden attacks Louisiana abortion bill with no exceptions for rape, incest as 'radical'

The White House released the following statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre June 6.

"The Louisiana Legislature has taken the latest step in a growing attack against the fundamental freedoms of Americans," the statement said. "Louisiana’s extreme bill will criminalize abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest and punish reproductive healthcare professionals with up to 10 years in prison."

There are other abortion ban trigger laws in 13 other states, according to the pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute, which means Louisiana women would have to travel as far as New Mexico and or Illinois to have an abortion.

Kentucky's and South Dakota's trigger laws also go into effect immediately, while the other 10 states' abortion bans begin after certification by state officials.

Louisiana's law does allow for the termination of ectopic pregnancies, which are where the fetus develops outside the uterus and can't survive, as well for removing a deceased baby from the womb or removing a child that can't live outside the womb.

In vitro fertilization remains legal in the state.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: Abortion in Louisiana is illegal now after Supreme Court ruling