Louisiana Bill Would Criminalize Abortion Even In Cases Of Rape

June 07, 2011 2:13 pm ET — Kate Conway

LA State Rep. John LaBruzzo

Amid the widespread state-level antagonism towards abortion rights, a Louisiana bill currently under consideration by the state legislature may be the most extreme yet. The bill would not only criminalize most abortions, threatening to punish doctors for performing a medical procedure whose legality has been upheld by the Supreme Court, but it would also force poor women whose lives are endangered by their pregnancies to pay for a life-saving abortion out-of-pocket. Victims of rape or incest, on the other hand, aren't even afforded that exception. From the Huffington Post:

The Louisiana state legislature is considering a bill that would make performing an abortion a criminal offense, including in cases of rape and incest, and that would force a woman to pay out of pocket for an abortion that is necessary to save her life. [...]

In addition to banning abortions, the proposed bill would violate the federal Hyde Amendment, which states that while federal money cannot be used to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, in those cases Medicaid and other government funds must be provided. LaBruzzo's abortion ban would not include such exemptions.

Attempting to criminalize in Louisiana what is nationally a legal redress available to victims of a violent crime is part of a larger conversation on abortion rights that is given to trivializing rape and its consequences. It's the same callous, paternalistic attitude towards women and their bodies seen in the Kansas lawmaker who last month suggested that women ought to plan ahead for rape by purchasing their own abortion insurance coverage.