The Louisiana House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill that would outlaw all abortions except to protect the life of the woman. If enacted, it would be the nation's toughest abortion law.

Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer (D), a self-described "right-to-lifer," has said he would veto any bill that did not allow for abortions in cases of rape, incest or when the health and safety of the woman is endangered.

The House bill passed 74 to 27, and supporters said they think they can achieve the two-thirds vote in both houses to override Roemer's veto, even though a Louisiana governor's veto has not been overridden in 70 years.

Louisiana has antiabortion laws on the books, but a 1976 federal court injunction has prevented the state from enforcing them. A law enacted in 1855 required up to 10 years of hard labor for doctors convicted of performing abortions. The new bill retains that criminal penalty and adds a fine of $10,000 to $100,000.

The legislation, designed by state and national antiabortion organizations, is part of a nationwide effort by antiabortion groups to get a bill through a state legislature that will provide the Supreme Court with a challenge to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized most abortions.

"We can influence what is happening in the United States and throughout the world," said state Sen. Louis "Woody" Jenkins (D), sponsor of the bill. "Louisiana is the last state to meet in legislative session this year that could provide the Supreme Court with a statute to overturn Roe v. Wade."

Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus (D) vetoed a less restrictive antiabortion bill in March, saying it was unnecessarily harsh and would not meet constitutional standards.

State Sen. Mike Cross (D), author of a bill identical to the Jenkins bill that is expected to be passed by the state Senate next week, said the legislation "forces the court to look at Roe straight on -- with no exceptions. {Justice} Sandra Day O'Connor said, give me something that flies in the face of Roe, so we're giving it to her."

Kitty Kolbert, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said the bill was in direct violation of Roe v. Wade. "There couldn't be a clearer case to go through the federal courts," she said. She said the ACLU will challenge the bill if it is enacted.

Jenkins's bill defines abortion an as act with the specific intent to terminate pregnancy other than to preserve the life or health of the unborn child or to remove a dead fetus. It states that the "crime of abortion" does not "include the unintended death of a child when a physician uses a procedure which is necessary to save the life of the child or the mother and used for that purpose and with that intent."

All amendments, including one that would have added a rape and incest exception, were turned back. "What kind of man or woman would reach inside a mother's womb and pull out her baby and destroy it?" Jenkins asked during the debate.

State attorney general William J. Guste (D) has said that he does not think an antiabortion bill containing criminal penalties will meet a court test. Leslie Gerwin, a lawyer representing the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom, also said the bill is unconstitutional. "This bill is a frontal assault on a woman's right to privacy," she said.

But Sharon Fontanot of the Louisiana Right to Life Committee, who coordinated lobbying efforts of antiabortion groups, said the bill is crafted so "the Supreme Court may decide to let Louisiana legislate the way the people of the state want."

The decision yesterday on a woman's reproductive rights was made by an almost all-male legislature. Of 105 representatives in the House, three are women. All three voted against the bill. There are no women among the 39 state senators.

Despite the overwhelming antiabortion majority in the Louisiana legislature, a veto override is not guaranteed. Some lawmakers have said they may vote to sustain a veto by Roemer because of concern about the estimated $1.5 million to $3 million cost of defending an antiabortion law in court.

Activists from both sides plan rallies and vigils at the state Capitol in Baton Rouge and the governor's mansion next week.