Gov. Buddy Roemer said he may sign a House-approved bill that would outlaw most abortions and jail doctors who perform them.
Roemer vetoed a strict anti-abortion measure last year because it failed to make exceptions in cases of rape and incest. The House approved two measures by more than a 2-to-1 margin Monday, one of which allows abortion only in cases of rape or incest or when the mother's life is in danger. The other allows abortion only to save the mother.Under the first bill, the penalty for performing an illegal abortion would be up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine. The stricter measure carries up to 15 years in prison and no fine. Both measures go next to the Senate.
Rep. Sam Theriot, a Democrat who sponsored the less strict bill, said there is a split among anti-abortion forces, with one faction insisting on the most stringent of laws and the other "wanting to face reality."
His bill is backed by the Louisiana bishops of the Roman Catholic Church and the Louisiana Right to Life Association.
"Once again, the House has shown that it has no interest in women, in the health of women or in privacy. We'll try to stop these bills in the Senate. If we can't, we'll try to convince the governor that these exceptions are not fair," said Terri Bartlett, president of Planned Parenthood of Louisiana.