(Photo credit: FOX 8 News)
Published: June 5, 2019
By: Hunter Lovell, LSU Manship News Service
BATON ROUGE—House and Senate lawmakers passed several abortion bills Wednesday (June 5), less than a week after Louisiana’s governor signed the strict ‘fetal heartbeat’ ban into law.
This legislative session lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have proposed and lobbied anti-abortion laws.
Both chambers approved the bid for a constitutional amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Baton Rouge. This measure would potentially amend Louisiana’s constitution to say that it does not protect the legal right to have an abortion or to secure public funding for the procedure.
The House voted 79-20 on the measure, sending it to the Senate which approved it with a 33-5 vote.
It is now up to Louisiana voters to decide. Jackson’s constitutional amendment will be placed on the statewide ballot for the 2020 presidential election, held in November. This was changed from the original proposal, which would have scheduled the amendment for this year’s October gubernatorial primary.
The amendment would not immediately go into effect because the U.S. Constitution grants the right to an abortion under the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.
Legislators in the House and Senate also passed a bill that seeks to tighten the definition of abortion under state law.
The bill, proposed by Frank Hoffmann, R-West Monroe, would redefine abortion to include language specifying medically-induced abortions.
The House approved the legislation with a 84-1 vote, while the Senate voted 32-5 for the proposal.
Intense debate erupted in the Senate when Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, confronted Franklinton Republican Senator Beth Mizell about the anti-abortion regulations.
“Women should be able to do what they want with their own bodies,” Peterson said. “This law sets women back 1,000 years.”
She also criticized supporters of the measure for rushing it onto the 2020 ballot and admonished the conference committee for stripping an amendment that would have made exceptions for victims of rape and incest.
Mizell argued the vote on the constitutional amendment is necessary because she believes “Louisiana is a pro-life state.”
“It’s hard for me to imagine a 12-year-old who needs an abortion,” Mizell said. “The idea that we’ve come to think that’s an acceptable option breaks my heart.”
Read more at Fox 8 News.