Members of the Louisiana House of Representatives failed to pass a bill that would have abolished abortion by applying homicide laws to women who procure the procedure.
The Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act (HB813) — which has gained national and international media attention — recognizes “the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the moment of fertilization by protecting them by the same laws protecting other human beings.” Accordingly, it applied state laws about homicide to children in the womb.
Last week, lawmakers on the Louisiana House’s criminal justice committee approved the bill by a 7 to 2 vote. However, after legislators approved an amendment on Thursday stating that “the pregnant female shall not be held responsible for the criminal consequences” of seeking an abortion by a 65 to 26 vote, State Rep. Danny McCormick — the Republican who sponsored HB813 — asked to pull the bill from the House floor.
Lobbying groups in favor of HB813 condemned the Louisiana lawmakers’ decision.
“We came to support HB813 as it was a righteous and just bill treating abortion as murder and standing up to the unconstitutional rulings of the Supreme Court,” Free The States Director T. Russell Hunter told The Daily Wire. “As it has been amended, and is no longer an abolitionist bill, but a standard pro-life bill that does not treat abortion as murder, does not establish equal justice, and submits to Roe v. Wade, we now oppose HB813.”
Free The States Communications Director James Silberman added that “despite broad and passionate public support for the bill as it was written, the lobbyists and politicians of the Louisiana pro-life establishment have gutted the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act.”
“The Louisiana House of Representatives just had a bill before them that would protect all human beings from being murdered with impunity, and therefore abolishing abortion in their state,” Pastor Brett Baggett of Rescue Those noted. “What did the pro-life legislators do? They gutted it in order to keep abortion legal.”
Louisiana Right to Life announced its opposition to HB813 ahead of the House vote because it applied criminal penalties to mothers who procure abortion. Likewise, Governor John Bel Edwards (D-LA) — remarking that his “Catholic Christian faith” teaches him to be pro-life — followed suit in opposing the legislation. “I felt I had to join my voice to the chorus of pro-life organizations against HB813,” he said in a statement.
“Louisiana Right to Life, Governor Edwards, and others argue that mothers should be allowed to murder as many of their children as they want with impunity, and that we must wait for the Supreme Court to give us permission before obeying Christ and upholding the constitutional right to life,” Silberman added. “They are wrong on both counts and babies will continue to be murdered in Louisiana because of it.”
Pro-life activist Abby Johnson recently condemned Louisiana Right to Life for opposing HB813. “Either the preborn are fully human or they aren’t,” she said on Twitter. “When abortion is illegal, people must pay the penalty for killing their children. These children deserve justice.”
Replying to Edwards’ opposition to the bill, Johnson said, “Well, well, well. Look how many pro-aborts you have made happy!!”
Brian Gunter — the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Livingston, Louisiana, who was instrumental in organizing other Christians in the state to support the legislation — told The Daily Wire that Edwards “believes there are no circumstances under which a woman should be held accountable if she knowingly and intentionally kills her preborn child.”
“HB813 protects a woman who is coerced into an abortion and prosecutes the person who forces her to have an abortion,” he said of the bill in its original form. “If Governor Edwards believes the preborn child is just as much a person as the born child, then it is absurd for him to suggest that the preborn child should be discriminated against and denied equal protection under law. No one should be allowed to murder preborn children without consequences.”
Last week, Gunter remarked to The Daily Wire that Louisiana’s current pro-life trigger law — the “The Human Life Protection Act” — only penalizes abortionists with $1,000 fines, even though animal cruelty is fined at up to $25,000 in Louisiana.