Louisiana voters will have the opportunity to amend their state constitution to ensure no activist judges find a “right” to abortion in the state.
On Wednesday, the Louisiana legislature passed the Love Life Amendment, a state constitutional amendment that will be on the ballot in November 2020, The Advocate reports.
The measure would add language to the Louisiana Constitution stating that there is no right to an abortion or taxpayer funding for abortions. The bill had to pass the state legislature by a two-thirds majority, and voters must approve it before it can be added.
Its sponsor is state Rep. Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat who spoke at the March for Life in January.
On Tuesday, lawmakers amended the measure to change the voting date from October 2019 to November 2020. According to the report, Jackson said she was in favor of the move because presidential elections tend to have a higher voter turnout.
“This bill still gives people the right to choose whether or not the Louisiana Constitution provides a right to abortion,” Jackson said. “I definitely don’t think the pro-lifers in this chamber want to kill the bill.”
Fox News 8 reports the measure passed the House 79-20 and the Senate 33-5.
Among those voting against it was state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party.
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“Shame on any governor that signs a bill that does not have exceptions for rape and incest,” Peterson said, according to the local news. “Your religious views are not to be imposed on every citizen of this state.”
Abortion activists have been fighting against the legislation. In April, Steffani Bangel, of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, told a House committee that it would add to women’s suffering, according to the local news.
“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 said.
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.
“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.”