Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco signed legislation in Baton Rouge that penalizes doctors who perform a late-term abortion procedure, making the state the first to restrict the surgery since a similar federal ban was upheld this year.
The new law allows the procedure only when the pregnant woman's life would be endangered without it. It would be a crime in all other cases, including when the pregnancy is expected to cause health problems for the woman.
The statute mirrors one that President Bush signed into law in 2003. In April, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Under the Louisiana legislation, doctors face fines up to $10,000 and jail terms of up to 10 years.