There is a new bill approved by a Louisiana House committee that makes the act of abortion a crime of homicide. According to this legislation, the pregnant woman ending her pregnancy along with the people involved in the abortion could be charged with the crime.
The bill is called the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act. According to the wording in this bill, it will ensure “the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the moment of fertilization by protecting them by the same laws protecting other human beings.” In other words, the bill defines personhood as beginning from the moment of fertilization.
It was the criminal justice committee in the Louisiana House that approved the bill with a 7-2 vote this week. Rep. Danny McCormick, a Republican, introduced the bill to the House, and it was voted on a few days after the opinion of the Supreme Court was leaked. The document made known to the press was focused on a decision that was made by the High Court indicating they were preparing to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
McCormick said on social media that if there are more than 15 states that can go against the federal government regarding marijuana, Louisiana can do the same to save the lives of innocent children.
The legislation also maintains that any federal law, regulation, or ruling in a court that enables abortion will be void in Louisiana. And if there is a judge who tries to stop the enforcement of the bill’s provisions, that judge could be impeached.
This is not the only law on the books in Louisiana that criminalizes abortion if and when Roe v. Wade is overturned. There has been a “trigger law” on the books that would cause doctors or others who perform an abortion to spend up to 10 years in prison. The difference with this new bill is that the mothers would be criminalized as well.
The Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act actually amends the homicide statutes in the state. This has caused those who have been fighting for the right to have an abortion to lash out against the thought of prosecuting the mothers.
Rev. Brian Gunter is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Livingston. He was a leading supporter of the bill and told those making the laws just before they voted, “No compromises, no more waiting.”
Ellie Schilling, a Louisiana lawyer, said, “This is saying that people can be charged with murder for any act that they take against their own pregnancy.” There are some in-state leadership who are sure that the bill is unconstitutional and will be struck down in state-federal courts if it actually becomes the law of the land. The next step for the legislation is to go to the full House for debate.
One critic, Chris Kaiser who is the advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, noted that the bill was “barbaric,” and it would subject people to murder prosecutions that would lead to sentences of life without parole.
Kaiser said that he had “grave concern” for what this bill would lead to in the future. He said, “Supporters of this legislation expressed no reservations about imprisoning people for exercising control of their reproduction.”
Those who make the laws in Louisiana have a track record of bold anti-abortion measures. The state is the only one in the deep south that has a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, but he has supported anti-abortion legislation. When he was asked about this bill, a spokesperson said that the governor doesn’t usually speak about bills that haven’t yet made it to his desk.
Conservative states are gearing up for a major shift, and Louisiana has one of the strongest responses yet.