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Louisiana's State Capitol Building

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (LifeSiteNews) – The Louisiana House’s Civil Law and Procedure Committee voted 10-2 on Monday to quash a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would enshrine a state-level “right” to abortion.

House Bill 245 would have proposed language to be added to the Louisiana Constitution declaring that “(a)ll persons have the right to decide and implement their decisions regarding reproductive healthcare including but not limited to contraception, fertility treatment, pregnancy continuation, miscarriage care, abortion care, and birthing options” as well as the “right to be treated with dignity and respect” regarding those decisions.

It further states that the state government “shall not penalize or discriminate against an individual voluntarily exercising” those rights or “or an individual or entity assisting another in exercising” them unless it can show it is “properly and effectively using the least restrictive means to advance an individual’s health in accordance with widely accepted and evidence based standards of care”; and that nobody may be prosecuted or otherwise punished for an “actual, potential, perceived, or alleged pregnancy resulting in a miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, or other pregnancy-related outcomes.”

Louisiana State University student newspaper The Reveille reported that Democrat state Rep. Aimee Adatto Freeman, who introduced the measure, claimed it was necessary to prevent doctors from fearing legal repercussions for administering life-saving care to pregnant women in medical emergencies. 

But Republicans said existing pro-life law was sufficiently clear for the clear majority of Louisianans, and that Freeman’s proposal would go much further. 

“There is a difference between a child not surviving in a womb and “intentionally ending the life of a child in the womb,” noted Republican state Rep. Emily Chenevert. Her GOP colleague Mark Wright noted that “If the language in the amendment would’ve been a problem, we would not have gotten 60+ percent” when the state approved a pro-life amendment in 2020.

Under current Louisiana law, abortion is only allowed when deemed “necessary” to prevent the death of the mother “due to a physical condition,” to avoid “serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman,” or if two doctors agree that an unborn baby would not survive after birth. In such situations, a physician must “make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with reasonable medical practice.”

All told, 14 states currently ban all or most abortions, with available data so far indicating that now-enforceable pro-life laws could effectively wipe out an estimated 200,000 abortions a year. But the abortion lobby is working feverishly to cancel out those deterrent effects by deregulated interstate distribution of abortion pills, legal protection and financial support of interstate abortion travel, constructing new abortion facilities near borders shared by pro-life and pro-abortion states, making liberal states sanctuaries for those who want to evade or violate the laws of more pro-life neighbors, and enshrining abortion “rights” in state constitutions.

Since 2022, the abortion lobby has had great success with state constitutional amendments, which if enacted effectively insulate abortion-on-demand from future state legislation and can only be overridden by a federal abortion ban, prompting much conversation among pro-lifers about the need to develop new strategies to protect life at the ballot box. Pro-lifers have failed to either enact pro-life amendments or stop pro-abortion ones in California, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont, and Ohio. This year, there are three abortion-related ballot initiatives slated for the November elections, with as many as 14 more that could be approved for consideration.