A Louisiana bill that would make aborting an unborn baby an act of homicide advanced Wednesday in the state House.
Forbes reports the controversial bill passed the House Appropriations Committee in a 7-2 vote and now heads to the full state House for consideration.
The Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act (House Bill 813), sponsored by state Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City, recognizes “the human personhood of an unborn child at all stages of life” and ensures all rights and laws that apply to other human beings include unborn babies. This means aborting an unborn baby would be an act of homicide under the law.
The bill also tries to circumvent potential lawsuits by stating that a judge should be impeached or removed if they block the state from enforcing any part of the law. If it passes, the legislation would go into effect immediately.
“The taking of a life is murder and it is illegal. Louisiana law currently fails to provide equal protection for human life. Persons are deemed unworthy of legal protection for no other reason than they are not yet born,” McCormick said, BProud News reports. “We can’t wait on the Supreme Court.”
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Louisiana already has a trigger law that will protect unborn babies by banning abortions as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned. Because of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, states are prohibited from banning abortions before unborn babies are viable.
Both pro-life advocates and abortion activists expressed concerns about McCormick’s bill.
According to the Associated Press, state Rep. Tony Bacala, a pro-life Republican, did vote to advance the bill but not before mentioning his reservations about its constitutionality. For example, the language calling for the impeachment or removal of a judge likely would be struck down in court.
“While I intend to vote for this bill, I would suggest that there may be better options that can actually go into practice instead of concepts that I feel like are probably going to be struck down,” Bacala said.
Abortion activists also raised concerns that the bill would punish mothers who abort their unborn babies.
“This is saying that people can be charged with murder for any act that they take against their own pregnancy,” pro-abortion lawyer Ellie Schilling said, the AP reports.
The pro-life movement oppose punishing mothers, too, instead viewing them as second victims of the abortion industry. Pregnant mothers frequently are coerced or forced into aborting their unborn babies or lied to and manipulated by abortion workers. Historically, when most states banned abortions before Roe v. Wade in 1973, women were not prosecuted for abortions.
It is not clear if the bill will pass. None of the leading pro-life organizations in Louisiana appear to support the bill.
Louisiana is a pro-life state, and its governor, John Bel Edwards, is a rare pro-life Democrat who has signed a number of pro-life bills into law. If the Supreme Court overturns Roe, as many hope it will this summer, Louisiana immediately would begin protecting unborn babies from abortion again under the law.