Published: May 10, 2023
By: Molly Ryan, LSU Manship School News Service
BATON ROUGE — A bill that would have added exceptions to Louisiana’s abortion ban for cases of rape and incest was rejected Wednesday by the House Criminal Justice Committee.
After hours of emotional testimony on both sides of the issue, lawmakers shot down the measure in a 10-5 vote, marking another blow to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ legislative agenda.
Pro-choice witnesses said that the current abortion ban, one of the strictest in the nation, would force young girls who are victims of rape to carry potentially dangerous pregnancies to term. They emphasized the possible negative mental health effects of being forced to carry a rapists’ child.
Several of the witnesses, including the bill’s author, Rep. Delisha Boyd, D-New Orleans, shared their own experiences with rape. Boyd said her mother became pregnant with her at 15 years old as the result of a rape. She said her mother struggled for years before dying at age 28.
In hindsight, Boyd said she understands the depth of her mother’s struggles and could not imagine forcing a young girl to go through the same thing.
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