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Louisiana

Summary of Current (and Most Recent) Abortion and Personhood Laws

  • Louisiana law currently prohibits abortion, including abortion-inducing drugs, at any stage of gestation, with limited exceptions.
  • The state recently enacted Senate Bills 342 and 388, which update its abortion laws following the Dobbs decision. Human Life Protection Act, La. Stat. Ann. § 40:1061, 2022 LA S.B. 342 (NS), effective June 17, 2022.
  • Abortion is defined as any act with the intent to terminate a clinically diagnosable “pregnancy” with the knowledge that the termination will cause the death of the “unborn child.” Under Louisiana law, pregnancy commences at fertilization and implantation.

Potential impact of the law on and references to IVF and reproductive medicine if any

  • It does not appear that current abortion restrictions in Louisiana will apply to IVF or other reproductive medicine services outside the context of a pregnancy.
  • There are no explicit references to IVF and reproductive medicine services in the current Louisiana laws regulating abortion.
  • The definition of abortion involves termination of a “pregnancy,” which is defined as specifically commencing at fertilization and implantation.
  • Further, under Louisiana law, “unborn child” means any individual of the human species from fertilization and implantation until birth. Thus, laws protecting the rights of an “unborn child” would not apply to pre-implantation scenarios. 

Relevant definitions

  • Abortion” is defined as “the performance of any act with the intent to terminate a clinically diagnosable pregnancy with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child by one or more of the following means:
    • “Administering, prescribing, or providing any abortion-inducing drug, potion, medicine, or any substance, device, or means to a pregnant female.”
    • “Using an instrument or external force on a pregnant female.” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:87.1, 2022 LA S.B. 342 (NS).
  • Conception” or “fertilization” is defined as “the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:87.1, 2022 LA S.B. 342 (NS).
  • Pregnant” is defined as “that female reproductive condition of having a developing embryo or fetus in the uterus which commences at fertilization and implantation.” La. Stat. Ann. § 14:87.1, 2022 LA S.B. 342 (NS).
  • Unborn child” is defined as “any individual of the human species from fertilization and implantation until birth.” La. Stat. Ann. §14:2.

Penalties for violations of the applicable abortion restrictions

Any person who “commits the crime of abortion” or who knowingly performs an abortion “by means of an abortion-inducing drug” shall be subject to criminal penalties. La. Stat. Ann. § 14:87, 2022 LA S.B. 388 (NS).

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