Sponsor of a bill that would subject Louisiana women to murder charges for abortions, after members of the House voted 65-26 Thursday to completely revise the law, to eliminate criminal penalties. The motion was pulled from the debate all of a sudden on the night of.
The controversial bill would have gone further against abortion than the efforts of lawmakers in any other state. This would have made women who give up their pregnancies subject to criminal homicide charges.
“It’s a thorny political question, but we all know it’s actually a very simple one. Abortion is murder,” declared Representative Danny McCormick, a Republican from Oil City, starting the debate. He said that the majority of Louisiana lawmakers in the heavily Republican legislature say he is anti-abortion, and briefly chided abortion opponents who oppose his bill. “We’re stumbling and trying to pull it off.”
But McCormick’s move drew strong opposition from many anti-abortion veterans. John Bel Edwards, an anti-abortion Democrat, said he would veto it. The Louisiana Right to Life, the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops and the National Right to Life Committee were among the major anti-abortion opponents of the measure.
Edwards, a devout Catholic, declared it “absurd” to prosecute women for abortion.
McCormick strongly disagreed, saying that a woman seeking an abortion should be in the same legal position as one who takes the life of a child after birth. “When I give equal protection to the unborn, so is the possibility,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday evening.
Supporters of the bill were adamant. Scores of them gathered at the Capitol to pray and show support. As the group pulled the bill from the balcony of the House, one shouted “Shame.”
The House had yet to begin debate on the controversial legislation when the building was temporarily vacated after the speaker disrupted proceedings and said an unidentified, unclaimed package had been found in the Capitol’s Memorial Hall – the House and Senate. A gathering area between the Chambers.
It came on a day when legislation was already moving slowly as lawmakers tried to reach a compromise on McCormick’s bill. The House stalled for more than an hour while lawmakers broke into groups behind closed doors to discuss the law.
The amendment was pending by Representative Alan Seebaugh at the time. The Shreveport Republican is an anti-abortion supporter. But his amendment changed McCormick’s bill, declaring that women would not face criminal penalties for abortions. It also allowed abortion to save the life of the pregnant woman. And it ended the language in McCormick’s original bill that appeared to make contraceptive drugs and at least some aspects of in vitro fertilization illegal.
The amendment also stripped language from McCormick’s bill, which is widely regarded as unconstitutional—a declaration that any federal law, regulation or court ruling permitting abortion is void and that no one enforces the bill’s provisions. A judge can also be impeached.
“We cannot give a court-ordered power to rule future acts unconstitutional,” Seabaugh argued.
The amendment reflects a pending Senate bill aimed at tightening Louisiana abortion laws that Roe v. Wade will be in effect when reversed. McCormick, as sponsor, is unlikely to pursue it in the House, but the Senate version could still go ahead.
McCormick’s bill, introduced in March, has drawn intense scrutiny in the light of leaks of a draft US Supreme Court opinion last week indicating the High Court is preparing to overturn decisions upholding the constitutional right to abortion. Is.
So far there was no indication that MPs from other states are enacting similar laws. In Idaho, Republican state Representative Heather Scott has proposed prosecuting women who have abortions, but a committee chair said Friday she would not allow it. “There are still reasonable people in the legislature who are going to make sure that extreme bills like this are not going to be heard,” said Rep.
Louisiana already has laws on the books criminalizing abortion, including a “trigger law” ensuring it would be a crime if the Supreme Court overturned the 1973 ruling Roe v. Wade that established abortion rights. gives. The laws appear to exempt women from prosecution, although some abortion rights advocates have suggested they need to be tightened.
McCormick has said that existing laws are insufficient to provide equal protection to fetuses under the law.