new orleans — A backer of a bill that would have charged murder with abortions on Louisiana women abruptly withdrew the proposal from debate on Thursday night after lawmakers voted for an overhaul of the bill to 65-26 to eliminate criminal penalties.
The controversial bill would have taken more chances against abortion than legislators in any other state. It would make women who end their pregnancy the subject of criminal homicide charges.
Oil City Republican Congressman Danny McCormick opened the debate by declaring, “This is an esoteric political question, but we all know it’s actually very simple. Abortion is murder.” He said Republicans briefly scolded opponents of abortion rights who oppose his bill, saying the majority of Louisiana lawmakers in the overweight legislature are anti-abortion rights. “We stumble and try to explain,” he said.
But McCormick’s actions provoked increasingly strong opposition from many anti-abortion rights supporters. Governor John Bel Edwards, an anti-abortion Democrat, said he would veto it. The Louisiana Right to Life, the Louisiana Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the National Right to Life Commission were prominent opponents of abortion.
Edwards, a devout Catholic, declared it “irrational” to prosecute a woman for an abortion.
McCormick strongly opposed that a woman who had an abortion should have the same legal status as a woman who took the life of a child after birth. “It’s possible when we have equal protection for the unborn,” he said in a telephone interview on Wednesday evening.
Supporters of the bill were adamant. Dozens of them gathered in the Capitol to pray and support. “Shame,” shouted one of the men in the party watching the bill being drafted from the balcony of the house.
The House of Representatives held a debate on the controversial bill when the building was temporarily evacuated Thursday after a speaker halted the process and said an unknown, unclaimed parcel was found at the Capitol Memorial, the meeting point between the House and Senate chambers. Haven’t started yet.
It was the day the bill was already moving slowly as lawmakers tried to find a compromise on McCormick’s bill. The House of Representatives adjourned for more than an hour, and lawmakers split into private groups to discuss the bill.
At the time, the pending amendment was Senator Alan Seabaugh’s amendment. Shreveport Republican is an anti-abortion rights advocate. But his amendments overhauled McCormick’s legislation, which declared that women would not face criminal penalties for abortion. He also allowed abortion to save a pregnant woman’s life. And they removed the language from McCormick’s original bill, which seemed to make the birth control pill and at least some aspects of in vitro fertilization illegal.
The amendment also removed wording from McCormick’s bill, which was widely regarded as blatantly unconstitutional. In other words, it is a declaration that any federal law, regulation, or court ruling authorizing abortion is void and any judge who interferes with the enforcement of the provisions of the law may be impeached.
“We cannot give ourselves the power to order the courts to make future conduct unconstitutional,” Seabaugh argued.
This amendment reflects a pending Senate bill aimed at strengthening Louisiana’s abortion law, which will take effect if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Backer McCormick is unlikely to push it forward in the House of Representatives, but the Senate version could still push it forward.
McCormick’s bill, introduced in March, last weekIt indicates that the High Court is preparing to overturn a decision supporting the constitutional right to abortion.
There are no signs yet that lawmakers from other states are adopting similar legislation. Republican Congressman Heather Scott from Idaho has proposed prosecuting a woman who has had an abortion, but the committee chair said Friday she would not allow it. Congressman Brent Crane said, “There are still reasonable people in the legislature who want to get an extreme bill like this out of hearing.”
Louisiana already has a law on books that criminalize abortion. This included the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that recognized the right to abortion, Roe vs. It includes a “incitement law” that guarantees that flipping Wade will be a crime. Some abortion rights advocates have suggested that strengthening is necessary, but the decree appears to exempt women from prosecution.
McCormick said the current law was inadequate to provide equal protection for unborn children under the law.