Governor Kathleen Blanco of Louisiana has signed into law two bills banning a controversial form of late-term abortion, making that state the first to outlaw the procedure after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban in April. Under the two laws, which went into effect July 13, anyone convicted of performing “a partial birth abortion . . . thereby kills a human fetus” and can be imprisoned for one to 10 years, fined from $10,000 to $100,000, or both. Women who have the procedure will not be subjected to fines or jail time under the new laws. A doctor charged with the crime can seek a hearing before the State Board of Medical Examiners to determine whether the procedure was necessary to save the mother’s life—an exemption under the new laws. Earlier in July, Blanco signed into law a bill that requires that a woman be told before an abortion that a fetus can feel pain.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).