Anti-abortion measures advance
Two bills focused on deterring pregnant women from getting abortions have been overwhelmingly approved by two legislative health committees. Sen. Sharon Weston Broome, D-Baton Rouge, says her proposal gives women the opportunity to listen to a fetal heartbeat before an abortion is performed. The measure is based on a similar law passed last year in Texas requiring that doctors conduct a sonogram, describe the fetus to, and play a fetal heartbeat for pregnant women seeking abortions. Opponents say the bill overreaches and that women seeking abortions have already weighed their options. Another bill, by Senate President John Alario, R-Westwego, would ban abortion except in limited medical cases after 20 weeks post-fertilization, based on the controversial claim that the fetus can feel pain at that point.
Also today at the Legislature:
—Welfare recipients would be unable to withdraw their assistance as cash or spend it on liquor and cigarettes, under a House-approved proposal supported by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. The state social services department would have to enact the measure by February 2013 if lawmakers pass the bill by Rep. Cameron Henry, R-Metairie.
—A bid to ask voters in each parish if they want to enact term limits on their local school boards was approved by a Senate committee. The term limit question would appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. If approved in a parish, local school board members would be limited to three consecutive four-year terms.
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