Bill Criminalizing Abortion Scheduled to be Heard in Louisiana House on Thursday
Should a woman and those who helped end her pregnancy be charged with murder?
That is a question that will be taken up by the Louisiana House on Thursday as Oil City Representative Danny McCormick's bill recently sailed out of the House Criminal Justice Committee by a 7-2 vote.
“Louisiana law currently fails to provide equal protection for human life, persons are deemed unworthy of legal protection for no other reason that they are not yet born,” said McCormick in this Louisiana Radio Network article.
How Many Abortion Providers Are In Louisiana?
There are three clinics in the Bayou State where women can get an abortion in Louisiana: Hope Medical Group For Women in Shreveport, Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge and Women's Health Care Center in New Orleans.
Top Anti-Abortion Group Opposes The Bill
Louisiana Right to Life is dedicated to keeping as many babies as they can from being aborted.
Our mission is to light the way to a pro-life Louisiana. We envision a day when abortion is a thing of the past, all mothers are supported and provided the resources they need, and all innocent humans are protected by law.
There's no question they are anti-abortion and would love to see the practice eliminated in Louisiana.
So, why are they opposed to Rep. McCormick's bill?
It’s always been The Louisiana Right to Life position that we do not treat the abortion-vulnerable women as a criminal,” said Louisiana Right to Life executive director Benjamin Clapper to LRN. “HB 813 is inconsistent with Louisiana Right to Life’s longstanding policy to not treat women as criminals, to instead hold those accountable for performing abortions.
So, Who Is Supporting Rep. McCormick's Anti-Abortion Bill?
The Oil City representative does have significant support as his bill gets ready to be heard in the Louisiana House this week.
Rev. Brian Gunter, who has served as Louisiana Right to Life Director of Outreach, helped McCormick craft the bill. He told USA Today the time is now to take this action.
No compromises; no more waiting. The bloodshed in our land is so great we have a duty ... to protect the least of these among us.
The Foundation to Abolish Abortion works across the country to ensure a time when the law protects the unborn like it does the born.
Our mission is to exalt and vindicate the image of God by promoting sound public policy that provides equal protection under the law to all preborn human beings.
Executive Director of the Foundation to Abolish Abortion Bradley Pierce is supportive of the bill because he believes it is in line with their mission and policy.
Because of this the only consistent position is that from the moment of fertilization we must protect their lives with the same laws that protect our lives," stated Pierce to LRN.
Is This Bill Even Necessary If Roe vs. Wade Gets Overturned?
This summer, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to overturn Roe vs. Wade due to the High Court's majority conservative make up.
In red states like Louisiana, state legislatures have been passing anti-abortion bills in preparation for the day that Roe vs. Wade would be overturned.
Clapper points out Louisiana actually did this in 2006, passing a law that would ban abortions once the High Court gave the OK.
In the Supreme Court’s leak draft that was determined as an accurate draft, if that decision holds up or anything close to it, it’s clear Louisiana law protects babies from abortion.
But McCormick is tired of being patient.
We can't wait on the Supreme Court," said McCormick to USA Today.
HB 813 would not only punish a woman getting an abortion and those who help her end the pregnancy with jail time but also punish any judge that tries to overrule or void the law with impeachment or removal.
There are questions if this bill is even constitutional.
Questions of constitutionality are left to the courts,” said Prairieville Representative Tony Bacala, who voted for the bill and cited that it's not the Louisiana Legislature's responsibility to determine constitutionality.
Would HB 813 Criminalize In Vitro Fertilization?
There is also the concern that bill would have unintended consequences of criminalizing in vitro.
Because freezing an embryo would become a battery, the disposal of an embryo, even if incident would become negligent homicide," explained New Orleans Attorney Gwyneth O’Neil, who called the bill reckless and bad law.
In a time when abortion could become illegal in states across the country, will anti-abortion groups in Louisiana get on the same page?