A state legislative committee in Louisiana has advanced a bill that would criminalize abortion as homicide, in which the pregnant person or people who assist with their abortion could be charged.
The bill, proposed by Republican state Rep. Danny McCormick, passed the state House Criminal Justice Committee 7-2 on May 4, despite at least one lawmaker who supported the bill emphasized that it is likely to be unconstitutional.
House Bill 813 now heads to the state House of Representatives for a full vote.
The bill’s introduction follows a leaked opinion from the US Supreme Court’s conservative majority that appears poised to overturn constitutional protections for abortion care affirmed by rulings in Roe vs. Wade Y planned Parenthood Vs Casey, end health care protections for millions of Americans.
Abortion remains legal in every state, though US Republican lawmakers have introduced dozens of anti-abortion measures in 2022 to restrict access or eliminate it altogether, with several states targeting abortion providers. with felonies, although such legislation has exempted people seeking abortions.
Louisiana is among at least 16 states with so-called “trigger” laws that would make abortion care illegal and force the state’s three remaining clinics to close if Roe vs. Wade is overturned in the Supreme Court.
Current restrictions on abortion care in the state include a mandatory ultrasound and state-directed counseling before a procedure, as well as a 24-hour waiting period before a procedure can be performed. Abortions for patients with health insurance plans through the state’s Affordable Care Act exchange cannot be covered, and patients cannot get prescriptions for medical abortions through telemedicine appointments.
The state’s “activation” law would immediately bar providers from performing an abortion or providing abortion medication in all cases, as long as the doctor makes “medically reasonable efforts” to save the life of the mother and fetus.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana saying the state legislative proposal is “blatantly unconstitutional.”
During Wednesday’s hearing, lawmakers were warned that the bill would also criminalize in vitro fertilization and some forms of birth control.
Earlier on Wednesday, the state’s Republican Attorney General, Jeff Landry, said that women seeking abortions in the state should “pack their bags and move to California.”
Democratic Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, the only anti-abortion Democratic governor in the US, refused to publicly discuss the leaked Supreme Court opinion.
said a spokesman for the governor the independent that his “pro-life position has been clear and consistent since he was first elected to the Louisiana Legislature in 2008” but “he is not going to issue a statement on a draft decision that has not been formally issued” and normally does not comments on bills that have not yet arrived on your desk.
The measure (to be called the “Louisiana Abortion Abolition Act of 2022”) recognizes “the sanctity of innocent human life, created in the image of God, which must be equally protected from fertilization to natural death” and “would recognize fully the human personality of an unborn child at all stages of development before birth from the moment of fertilization” and “guarantee the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the moment of fertilization protecting them by the same laws protecting other human beings”.
The text of the bill attempts to replace and “treat as void … any and all federal statutes, regulations, treaties, orders and judicial decisions that would deprive an unborn child of the right to life or prohibit equal protection of said right”.