Last week, Louisiana voters passed Proposed Amendment 1, which explicitly states that the state constitution offers no protections for a right to an abortion or funding for abortions.
Voters passed the constitutional amendment 62 percent to 38 percent. If Roe were to be overturned, which is a rising concern due to the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, this amendment would prevent state courts from declaring abortion restrictions unconstitutional. Due to this passing of the amendment, Louisiana now joins Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia as another state that does not protect abortion rights or allow public funds to be used for abortions.
This is not the first attempt in Louisiana to severely curb abortion access. This summer, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana TRAP law that would have required abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. There are currently 89 laws in Louisiana that comprise legal hurdles for anyone seeking an abortion in the state.
Michelle Erenberg, executive director of Lift Louisiana, said that Tuesday’s “result is deeply disappointing, but this feeling of sadness is temporary…Anyone or any organization in Louisiana who fights for reproductive freedom knows that these are hard battles to win, but we keep fighting because women – not just those of means but all women and all people who can become pregnant – deserve the basic right of bodily autonomy and high quality reproductive healthcare, which includes abortion”.
Steffani Bangel, executive director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, another organization who tried to defeat the amendment, echoed this sentiment, saying “By adding this language to our Constitution means we’ll have less right to sue for abortion rights”. In a state that currently has only 3 abortion clinics, restrictions such as these cause disproportionate harm and difficulty for low income women and women of color.
Sources: Feminist Newswire 10/27/20; Feminist Newswire 10/29/20; Feminist Newswire 6/29/20; CNN 11/4/20; The Advocate 10/31/20; Lift Louisiana