Louisiana lawmakers advance bill classifying abortion as homicide

When asked about the bill now being considered, a spokeswoman for Edwards said the governor “doesn’t usually weigh in on legislation that hasn’t made it to his desk.”

Although lawmakers in conservative states have proposed a barrage of measures aimed at restricting access to abortion, including the possibility of criminal charges for providers, the prosecution of those who obtain abortions has divided anti-abortion activists.

While campaigning for president in 2016, Donald J. Trump received an immediate backlash after he said that patients seeking abortions should be subject to “some kind of punishment.” He retracted his statement, saying later: “The woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in her womb.”

Louisiana is one of about a dozen states with a so-called trigger law, which would quickly make abortion illegal if the Supreme Court strikes down the constitutional right to abortion. A challenge to a Mississippi abortion law paved the way for the court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing that right.

Still, proponents of the new bill in Louisiana argue that the activation law is not enough. If passed, the bill would immediately ban abortion in the state, even before the Supreme Court issues its final decision. The bill would also allow the Legislature to ignore court rulings with which it disagrees.

“Louisiana has already defied federal law by legalizing medical marijuana,” said Danny McCormick, the Republican representative who sponsored the bill. “If more than 15 states can challenge the federal government over marijuana, we can do it to save the lives of innocent babies.”

Critics said, and some supporters even acknowledged, that the legislation, if passed, would likely be stymied by the courts. Still, critics argued that the bill was reckless and had devastating implications.

“It sets a precedent that could undermine our own system of government,” Gwyneth O’Neill, an attorney who spoke out against the bill, said during a hearing Wednesday. “This bill is blatantly unconstitutional in many different ways.”

Add Comment