Louisiana Voters Exclude ‘Right to Abortion’ from State Constitution

Nov 5, 2020

BATON ROUGE, LA – Voters overwhelmingly approved Louisiana Amendment 1 which adds language to the Louisiana Declaration of Rights that says that “nothing in the state’s constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” 

Amendment 1, known as the “Love Life Amendment,” passed with 64 percent of the vote. This was the first time Louisiana voters had the opportunity to vote directly on the issue of abortion in any context. This constitutional amendment will prevent courts from finding a “right to abortion,” or to public abortion funding, in the state’s constitution. 

If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe v. Wade decision, this amendment would ensure against any court ruling that language in the Louisiana constitution grants abortion rights. 

State Senator Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat, authored the amendment when she was a state representative, along with dozens of co-sponsors from both parties. 

Jackson said, “It’s important to understand that Amendment 1 is not a ban on abortion. It simply keeps abortion policy in the hands of our legislators rather than state judges. Our body of pro-life laws ensure that women are empowered with the truth about their pregnancy prior to an abortion, that minors seeking an abortion have parental consent, and that babies born alive following a botched abortion receive immediate medical care.” 

Alabama and West Virginia have similar constitutional amendments also by direct ballot initiatives that explicitly established no right to abortion. Tennessee’s constitution also establishes no right to abortion in the state.

Last year, the Louisiana House of Representatives passed a “heartbeat bill” that will prohibit abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable in the womb, which is usually as early as six weeks of pregnancy. Senator John Milkovich, a Democrat, sponsored SB 184 which requires an ultrasound to be conducted prior to any abortion procedure. If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the bill bans abortion unless, under penalty of perjury, the abortion provider declares the procedure necessary “to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.” The bill also includes an exemption in the case that a physician certifies that the “unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth.”

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “I commend the people of Louisiana for fighting for precious babies and passing this ‘Love Life Amendment.’ This is a positive step to awaken the conscience of our nation to the violence of abortion. I am grateful that Louisiana is not afraid to take significant action toward making the womb a safe place again.”

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