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The Louisiana State Capitol building is seen in a clear, blue sky through trees on the Capitol grounds.

Advocate Staff Photo by PATRICK DENNIS

Louisiana would ban abortions after 15 weeks under legislation overwhelmingly approved by the state Senate Tuesday.

Senate Bill 181 passed 31-3 and now goes to the House for consideration.

Under current law, the state does not permit abortions after 20 weeks.

If SB181 became law, Louisiana would match Mississippi for having the strictest restriction on when abortions could occur.

Mississippi's law has been challenged in federal court. Louisiana's measure would not take effect unless the court upheld Mississippi's law.

"This is a great step forward to protect babies after 15 weeks," said state Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, the sponsor of SB181.

Some 95 percent of abortions in Louisiana occur before the 15th week of pregnancy.

For years, Louisiana has had one of the toughest anti-abortions laws across the country. For example, state Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, is an abortion opponent and voted for SB181.

The three who voted against it were African-American Democrats from New Orleans: JP Morrell, Troy Carter and Wesley Bishop.

None of them spoke against the bill.

Pro-choice groups have denounced Milkovich's measure as cruel to women.

Follow Tyler Bridges on Twitter, @tegbridges.