Louisiana Bill Regarding ‘Crimes of Violence’ and Coerced Abortion (SB 534)
This law was last updated on Jun 7, 2018
As introduced, SB 534 would define second degree murder to include a person who performs an abortion on a pregnant person who has been coerced into obtaining the procedure.
The bill would prohibit a person from coercing another person into obtaining an abortion. The bill defines “coerce” to include:
- Causing or threatening to cause serious bodily injury to another person.
- Physically restraining or threatening to physically restrain another person.
- Abducting or threatening to abduct another person.
- Using a plan, pattern, or statement with the intent to cause another person to believe that failure to perform an act will result in the use of force against, serious harm to, or abduction or physical restraint of the other person.
- Abusing or threatening the abuse of legal process against another person.
- Destroying or threatening the destruction, concealment, removal, confiscation, or possession of any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document, of another person.
- Controlling or threatening to control another person’s access to a controlled dangerous substance.
- The use of another person’s physical or mental impairment, where such impairment has a substantial adverse effect on the individual’s cognitive or volitional functions.
- Using civil or criminal fraud.
- Withholding financial support from an unemancipated minor by the minor’s parents, guardians, or custodian.
A person who violates this provision would be fined anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 and imprisoned, from six months to fiver years.
Second Degree Murder
The bill would redefine “second degree murder” to include when the offender performs an abortion that results in the death of an “unborn child” on a person who has been coerced into obtaining the abortion, and the offender knew or reasonably should have known that the abortion had been coerced.
A person who commits the crime of second degree murder would face life imprisonment at hard labor without benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence.
The bill was amended to define abortion and feticide as “crimes of violence.”
Current state law defines a “crime of violence” as an offense that has, as an element, the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, and that, by its very nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense or an offense that involves the possession or use of a dangerous weapon.
The amended bill adds the following as “crimes of violence”:
- criminal abortion;
- first degree feticide;
- second degree feticide; and
- aggravated criminal abortion by dismemberment.
The amended bill prohibits coerced abortion and defines the term to mean when any person intentionally engages in the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of a pregnant person, with the intent to compel the pregnant person to undergo an abortion against their will, whether or not the abortion procedure has been attempted or completed.
A person who commits the crime of coerced abortion would be fined up to $5,000 and/or imprisoned for up to five years.
The amended version passed the senate on May 1, 2018, by a 33-0 vote.
Passed the house with minor technical changes on May 16, 2018, by an 85-vote.
Senate concurred on May 17, 2018, by a 29-3 vote.
Signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on June 1, 2018.