Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal Signs Pro-Life Bill With Abortion Conscience Clause
by Steven Ertelt
July 8, 2009
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill Tuesday that gives pro-life doctors and other medical professionals more conscience protections on abortion under state law. The covers both public and private health care workers and allows them to opt out of involvement in abortions.
The measure also allows withdrawal from participating in anti-life bioethics practices such as human cloning, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell research.
The bill allows the medical workers to receive job protection and legal immunity from employer discrimination if they refused to participate in the practices.
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union opposed the conscience protection for doctors and health care workers claiming that it would somehow reduce access the medical services, even though that has not been the case in other states.
Rep. Bernard LeBas, a Democrat from Ville Platte, sponsored the bill, HB 517, that allows "any person . . . not to" participate in the objectionable practices or dispense "abortifacient drugs," that would include the mifepristone abortion pill and the morning after pill, which can cause an abortion in limited circumstances.
The bill almost didn’t make it to Jindal in its correct form as members of the state House, led by pro-abortion Rep. John Bel Edwards, amended it to make it so only healthcare providers in the public sector are entitled to conscience protection for a limited amount of procedures.
However, thanks to the calls, emails and public lobbying from pro-life advocates, the state Senate approved HB 517 and added an amendment making sure all health care professionals receive the benefit of the legislation.
Benjamin Clapper, the head of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, said the Senate passed the amended bill on a bipartisan 31-2 vote.
"While Louisiana Right to Life was relentlessly working over the past week to earn our Senators’ support of HB 517, it was not till around 40 pro-lifers descended on the Senate yesterday morning that the victory was in hand," Clapper told LifeNews.com at the time.
"Also, many thanks to Senator Amedee who amended the bill to protect both the consciences of public and private health care professionals," he added.
ACTION: Contact Gov. Bobby Jindal at http://www.gov.louisiana.gov and thank him for signing the conscience clause bill into law.
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