BATON ROUGE,LA — There's no clear penalty currently. There's some civil provisions, some civil recourse that can be taken against the person performing it, on the clinic, but there's no criminal provision," says Senator. Rick Ward of Port Allen.
Ward says that needs to change. He says if you're not a doctor and you perform an abortion you need to be thrown in jail. That's why he introduced Senate Bill 330. If the bill passes, those who break the law would face up to five years behind bars. It passed out of committee on Tuesday.
"It's a surgical procedure, so I mean if you're having any other type of procedure, whether it be your gall bladder removed, your appendix removed, something like that. You don't want the office manager at the hospital or doctor's office facility performing that," says Ward.
But that's exactly what happened to Laura Hope Smith and the results were fatal.
"There was a woman, her name was Laura Hope Smith that actually died from the abortion. The abortion was by an office manager and the physician, but the office manager was included in that abortion procedure, so the abortion can cause death for the woman also," says Cindy Collins of the Louisiana Abortion Recovery Alliance.
Neither Ward nor Collins though could cite any deaths from non-doctors here in Louisiana performing abortions. They says there's a good reason for that.
"Often a woman will not seek help after having an abortion, if she has had a botched abortion or medical difficulties with an abortion," says Collins.
The bill now moves to the House floor for debate.