Abortion Amendment Heads To House Floor
A constitutional amendment is on its way to the House floor that would let Louisiana voters decide whether or not the state constitution protects abortion rights.
Governor Edwards is backing the measure and his executive counsel Matthew Block says the governor wants to send a message to his constituents.
“We want to make it clear that the Louisiana constitution does not provide for the right to an abortion. That’s what this bill does, and what it does clearly.”
The proposal would need two-thirds support in both chambers, and over 50% of the vote on the October 12th gubernatorial primary ballot.
The amendment was brought by Monroe Democratic Representative Katrina Jackson who says it’s an opportunity for voter to show the rest of the country that the Bayou State is the no. 1 pro-life state.
“This would put us at the forefront before a suit is ever filed that we would be clear, that our people would have an opportunity to vote on it, all of your constituents, that we do not recognize a right to an abortion in Louisiana.”
Several states have adopted similar additions to their constitutions.
Pro-choice advocates were on hand to contest the proposal. Steffani Bangel with the New Orleans Abortion Fund disputed the amendment, saying a persons right to determine her own future, and her bodily autonomy are inextricably linked.
“On the human level bills like HB425 insult the intelligence and the autonomy of Louisianians who seek to terminate their pregnancy. Our clients are strong, thoughtful people who have made an informed choice to end their pregnancy.”
Bangel says outlawing abortion in Louisiana would hit those living in precarious economic and social situations the hardest.
“Laws that restrict access to comprehensive healthcare, which includes abortion, are most damaging among our most marginalized communities. Low income women, women of color, rural women, and women who have been abused or assaulted.”
The law would not outright ban abortion, and thus is unlikely to be challenged in federal court, but it may create a legal framework to outlaw the procedure if the US Supreme Court ever undid Roe vs. Wade.