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

State   Steven Ertelt   May 7, 2019   |   6:28PM    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana is moving forward with a bill that would confirm there is no right to an abortion in the state constitution. A Senate committee passed the measure Tuesday afternoon.

Last week, the Louisiana House 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.

Today, the Louisiana Senate Judiciary A Committee approved HB 425, the Love Life Amendment.

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, said the following after the hearing, “We commend the members of the Senate Judiciary A Committee for moving HB 425, the Love Life Amendment, forward to the Senate floor for further consideration. This constitutional amendment will ensure there is no right to abortion in our state constitution. We must act now as a pro-life state to respond to states like New York who have legalized abortion to moments before birth.”

Clapper continued, “In the committee, there was ample discussion about “exceptions” such as rape and incest. It’s important to remember that the Love Life Amendment only ensures that the state Supreme Court cannot find a right to abortion in the state constitution. As Rep. Jackson’s committee amendment today clarifies, HB 425 leaves all consideration of the legality of abortion, and therefore these exceptions, to the state legislature and not to judges.”

Dorinda Bordlee of Bioethics Defense Fund explained, “Just last week, the Kansas Supreme Court found a state constitutional right to abortion. The Love Life Amendment would prevent that from happening in Louisiana.”

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The Love Life Amendment now heads to the Senate floor for further consideration.

The measure’s 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.

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.