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‘If You’re Human, You Deserve Equal Protection’: Pastor Behind Louisiana Bill To Abolish And Criminalize Abortion Debunks Misconceptions

   DailyWire.com
From left to right: attorney Bradley Pierce, pastor Jeff Durbin, professional political operative Zach Lautenschlager, and former MLB pitcher Dennis Sarfate (image courtesy of End Abortion Now).

The Louisiana House of Representatives’ criminal justice committee advanced a bill on Wednesday that would immediately abolish and criminalize abortion — yet according to one of the pastors behind the legislation, misconceptions about its intent abound on both the Left and the Right as the bill gains national attention.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022 (HB813) — sponsored by State Rep. Danny McCormick, a Republican — would acknowledge “the sanctity of innocent human life, created in the image of God, which should be equally protected from fertilization to natural death.” To ensure “the right to life and equal protection of the laws” for all preborn babies, it applies statutes about homicide to children in the womb.

On Wednesday, lawmakers on the Louisiana House’s criminal justice committee advanced the bill by a 7-2 vote. In an interview with The Daily Wire, Pastor Jeff Durbin — the head of Christian ministry End Abortion Now, which motivated the legislation — explained that the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act is based upon “indisputable, biological fact.”

“All human life begins at conception. The only difference between what happens at conception and where you are as an adult is a difference of degree,” he said. “So this provides a standard for the protection of human life in the state of Louisiana. It says if you’re human, you deserve equal protection — which is something that we would hope everybody could agree with, because we have a history in our own nation of saying somebody is technically human, but does not deserve equal protection under the law … that’s what they did to our black brothers and sisters with slavery.”

“And so we all agree with the abominable character of that kind of belief system,” he continued. “From a biblical and a legal standpoint, the unjustified taking of human life is murder. And so this law properly places the unjustified taking of a preborn life into the category of homicide, where it belongs.”

Durbin asserted that passing legislation like the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act ought to be the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement — especially as the Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, as indicated by a leaked draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

“The pro-life industry, ultimately by profession, should agree with this law — because what they argue for in the national conversation … is that what’s in the womb is human from conception and all life deserves protection. This is a piece of legislation that the pro-life industry should agree with, but they haven’t been fighting Roe v. Wade consistently with their profession,” Durbin argued. “This is the bill that essentially would codify what we’ve been saying — that it’s human from conception and that all human life deserves equal protection.”

Louisiana’s current pro-life “trigger bill” — the Human Life Protection Act — would only penalize abortionists with $1,000 fines, even as animal cruelty is fined at up to $25,000 in Louisiana. Meanwhile, Louisiana Right to Life — one of the state’s leading pro-life lobbies — currently opposes the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act.

“It goes to show the necessity of consistent legislation in the state,” Durbin commented, “because people will often tout some of these incremental laws as victories — but ultimately there’s partiality in saying things like ‘You can kill this human, but not this human.’ Or, in some cases, it won’t even make it criminal. For example, in states like Texas and Oklahoma, you’ll have a heartbeat bill that says if the abortionist or his staff finds a heartbeat, that they cannot kill the child. You’re leaving it up to the abortionist, who gets paid as to whether or not he finds the heartbeat. But not only that, you’re also saying that what makes you human and valuable and worthy of protection is whether your heart is working. That’s going to be devastating as you get older in life and your heart fails.”

Durbin again emphasized that the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act is “the bill that we’ve all said for 50 years that needs to take place.”

“It’s a bill of equal protection for all humans from conception,” he said. “It properly classifies what’s in the woman as human from conception, and it properly offers equal protection and it says that ‘If you kill a human in this state in an unjustified manner, you’re going to be guilty of homicide.’”

The legislation also revises Louisiana statute to clarify that fertilization — rather than implantation — is the beginning of human life. The bill therefore has implications for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and forms of birth control that prevent implantation of fertilized eggs.

“So-called conservatives that would oppose this bill are showing their cards. They don’t believe that it’s all human life,” Durbin said. “They’ll say that to get votes and donations, but now you’re seeing the revelation as to whether they actually believe it’s human life. It’s an indisputable biological fact that what is in the womb is human from conception. You cannot overcome that. And so, when it comes to questions about abortifacient birth controls and IVF — it’s actually not really a problem in terms of what we believe fundamentally. If we believe it’s coming from conception, then yes, we should be concerned about any birth control that actually allows for the creation of human life and the destruction of human life.”

Durbin said that the bill calls IVF providers to moral consistency.

“When it comes to IVF, it is really fascinating because it is such a blessing that through medical technology, we’ve been able to work for the preservation of human life,” Durbin said. “If you have a couple that cannot get pregnant on their own, we have a medical system that can actually help them create and preserve human life. That’s a huge gift to us. We so value new human life and its creation that maybe we need to adjust some of our standards … Let’s not just create life and then destroy it like it doesn’t matter. So this particular piece of legislation actually highlights the main principles that the IVF industry is depending on — that human life is valuable and needs to be preserved.”

Another noteworthy component of the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act is a provision stating that it would “treat as void” any federal laws or court rulings — namely, Roe v. Wade and its judicial progeny — that “deprive an unborn child of the right to life or prohibit the equal protection of such right.”

“This bill ultimately would defy the opinion of Roe,” Durbin said. “Whether Roe is ultimately overturned or not, this law would defy the tyrannical and erroneous opinion of Roe, and it would do it lawfully. Roe v. Wade is not a law — only Congress can create law in our country, and the Supreme Court does not have the power of legislation. So no law came from Roe v. Wade.”

Durbin argued that “the people who understand that best are actually the people on the Democratic side.” Indeed, President Joe Biden and Democratic leaders in the Senate are presently seeking to codify Roe as federal statute.

“We have a history in our nation of resisting the opinion of the Supreme Court when it is clearly tyrannical, fallacious, and unjust,” Durbin continued. “The best case to point to is Dred Scott v. Sandford. In that ruling, the Supreme Court said that black people were property, and that northern states needed to return slaves who had run away from the southern states. And thank God — thank God — the states of the North resisted the opinion of the Supreme Court and said, ‘No, we will not yield to your opinion, that is unjust and immoral.’ And so they resisted the Supreme Court’s ruling.”

“God’s Word defines what’s in the womb and demands the preservation of human life,” he added, “and these legislators swore an oath not to the Supreme Court, but to the Constitution. The constitutional standards guarantee the right to life. So if the Supreme Court violates the Constitution, then the standard has been — in Christian tradition moving into the American governance system — lex rex, the law is king.”

The Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act has gained attention from mainstream and international outlets, including The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. According to Durbin, progressives’ opposition to the bill fell flat because they “mount an argument against the indisputable biological fact that it’s human from conception.”

“We’re not finding any ability among the Left to argue with the substance of the bill,” Durbin said. “They avoid the substance and start appealing to emotional arguments — typical things like rape, incest, and life of the mother, which only accounts for about 2% of abortions. The other 98% are at-will — for no stated reason at all — and so they’re appealing to a very small, limited number of reasons for abortion, that are arguments in order to derive emotional opposition to the bill.”

“On the issue of rape, we don’t believe that you should give capital punishment to the child for the sins of the father,” Durbin continued. “We think we should prosecute the rapist and not the child, who had nothing to do with this. There are plenty of people alive today who are the products of rape and were very grateful that they weren’t killed. On the issue of incest, I have friends who are products of incest, and I don’t think we should kill them.”

“When it comes to the life of the mother, that is an instance that is so infinitesimally small, yet they use that as a primary reason to resist legal protection for all humans. It goes to show that their real opposition to the bill is that they want to be able to kill children in the womb at will,” he added. “When someone says, ‘This would make somebody who is in medical danger because of an ectopic pregnancy guilty of homicide’ — it’s another fallacy. When there actually is a medical emergency, doctors are trying to work on the preservation of human life for both patients — the mother and the baby. And if it becomes a rescue operation — an operation for the preservation of life, not the taking of human life — mothers go into the hospital to receive care from doctors who have a fundamental commitment to do no harm.”

Durbin also rejected the assumption that the bill would criminalize women who have miscarriages.

“Miscarriages and stillbirths are classified as natural deaths and don’t fall under the penalties for a bill of equal protection for all human life. When a woman has a miscarriage, it is such a heartbreaking situation and is through no fault of her own. It’s heartbreaking. My son — he just experienced that in his marriage, and it’s terrible. There was no taking away from the child with malice aforethought. When someone on the Left looks at a bill like this and attempts to pull our emotional heartstrings to resist it by saying, ‘What about miscarriages?’ — well, there’s no attempt on the part of the mother in a miscarriage to purposefully take away the life of her child in an unjustified manner. That’s heartbreaking. This bill has nothing to do with that.”

“What you’re seeing is that the Left cannot respond to the substance of the bill — that what’s in the womb is human life from conception,” Durbin concluded. “They can’t do it. And so what they’re appealing to is red herrings and emotionally driven arguments to try to sway the public. The hidden presupposition is that in reality, they believe that a mother has the right to take the life of her child if she wants to — and what they do to maintain their movement is they appeal to emotion and fallacious argumentation.”