Wednesday, March 22

Louisiana House removes murder charge for women from abortion bill

A Louisiana legislator who introduced a bill that would classify abortion as homicide withdrew the proposal from debate Thursday after colleagues voted to amend the legislation.

State Rep. Danny McCormick, the Republican who sponsored the measure, dubbed the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act, made the decision after the state House voted 65-26 to change several provisions in the bill, removing language that would allow women to be charged with murder for having abortions.

“The vast majority in this room claim to be pro-life, yet today, when Roe is on the chopping block and we have the clear opportunity to end abortion in our state, we are faltering and trying to explain it away,” McCormick said on the House floor.

Even some politicians in the state who are against abortion rights opposed the measure.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who is anti-abortion, characterized the measure as “radical” Wednesday. “House Bill 813 is not a pro-life bill,” Edwards said in a statement that said it was “patently unconstitutional.”

“To suggest that a woman would be jailed for an abortion is simply absurd,” he said.

Rep. Alan Seabaugh, a Republican who proposed significant changes to McCormick’s bill, offered a stunning rebuke of the measure.

“We’re on the precipice of the most significant pro-life victory in this country in 50 years. We should be celebrating together,” Seabaugh said on the House floor. “We should not be at each other’s throats over a bill that is blatantly unconstitutional, makes criminals out of women, would not prevent a single abortion and, as far as I can tell, was only presented to give a couple of misguided people a platform.”

Louisiana is one of 23 states that have so-called trigger laws in place if Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide, is overturned.

The Supreme Court confirmed this month that a leaked draft opinion suggesting there are enough justices to overturn Roe is authentic but said it does not represent a decision by the court or the final position of any member.

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