Louisiana House Passes Constitutional Amendment Confirming There’s No Right to Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt, Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 24, 2019   |   8:20AM   |   Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana is moving forward with a bill that would confirm there is no right to an abortion in the state constitution. The Louisiana House late Tuesday passed HB 425, the Love Life Constitutional Amendment.

The bill would add language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that there is no right to an abortion or taxpayer funding for abortions. To be added, the bill must pass the state legislature by a two-thirds majority and then be approved by voters.

Its sponsor is state Rep. Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat who spoke at the March for Life in January.

“This amendment makes sure there is no right to abortion or taxpayer funding of abortion in our state constitution,” Jackson said when she introduced the bill. “By passing this we can rest assured that, together with our state law, we will never become like New York, which recently legalized abortion up to the very moment before birth.”

The pro-life Amendment passed the Louisiana House of Representatives by a 80-10 margin this afternoon, clearing the 2/3 margin needed to move on to the Senate. Rep. Katrina Jackson brought co-author legislators to the podium with her to as she closed on the bill. The bill ended up with 76 co-authors in the House.

If passed through the Legislature by a ⅔ margin and then a vote of the people, the Love Life Amendment, Louisiana Right to Life’s 2019 flagship legislation, would ensure that there is no right to abortion or the taxpayer funding of abortion in Louisiana’s Constitution.

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Abortion activists already are fighting against the legislation. Steffani Bangel, of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, told the House committee that it would add to women’s suffering, according to the report.

“People in Louisiana suffer when restrictions like these are passed. Women are suffering now, and so too are the children born into families that couldn’t support them,” Bangel argued.

But Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, said the measure is necessary to protect unborn babies from death by abortion on demand.

“The Supreme Courts of 12 other states (as recently as 2018 in Iowa) have found a right to abortion in their state constitutions, striking down common-sense pro-life laws in the short term and ensuring abortion-on-demand in their states even if Roe v. Wade is overturned,” he said. “We cannot let that happen in Louisiana. By passing the Love Life Amendment we can place our pro-life values of respecting every human life at the heart of our state.”

In February, a poll of Louisiana voters found that 70 percent consider themselves to be pro-life. In addition, 71 percent said taxpayer funds should not be used for abortions.

On the Senate side, SB 221, authored by Sen. Beth Mizell, cleared the Louisiana Senate by a 38-0 margin. SB 221 strengthens Louisiana‘s “Woman’s Right to Know” law by providing further information to women prior to an abortion about the abortion physician and their disciplinary history. This legislation came about after Dr. Kevin Work, a physician performing abortions in Baton Rouge and New Orleans, was suspended from practicing medicine in Louisiana after it was reported he was violating his agreement with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
“Dr. Work’s troubled history was unknown to many Louisianians, and we imagine to his patients as well,” Clapper said. “In most other surgical practices, their websites voluntarily include plenty of information about the physician who will perform the surgery, allowing a patient to be fully informed in advance. Unfortunately, that is not the case with abortion. It is extremely difficult for a woman considering abortion to learn anything in advance about the qualifications and history of the physician who will be performing the abortion.
“SB 221 requires full disclosure of a physician’s medical education and recent disciplinary history. Especially when it cannot be found easily, women choosing abortion should have as much information as possible prior to their abortion about the person performing their abortion,” he said.

ACTION: Contact Louisiana House lawmakers to thank them for voting for the bill.