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Lege committee backs bill to keep pregnant women on life support 

  The Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee backed a bill April 23 that would require hospitals to keep pregnant women on life support until the birth of their children. House Bill 348 by state Rep. Austin Badon, D-New Orleans, was reported favorably 13-0 by the committee. The bill adds language to Louisiana's life support measures saying a doctor must keep a pregnant woman on life support if the woman "can reasonably be maintained in such a way as to permit the continuing development and live birth of the unborn child."

  "Thank you for stepping in for the child who doesn't have a vote yet," said Rep. Jay Morris, R-Monroe.

  "We have one goal in mind and that's to protect the sanctity of life in this country," Badon told the committee.

  HB 348 is among several reproduction-related bills introduced this session, including House Bill 388 from state Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, which, among other regulations, requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. Opponents of the measure say it would create major hurdles for rural physicians and their patients. That bill passed the House 86-5 on March 3 and is expected to receive Senate approval and Gov. Bobby Jindal's signature.

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