On Tuesday, the Louisiana Senate passed a bill (HB 425) that would allow Louisiana voters to decide whether or not to change the state’s constitution to further restrict abortion access at the ballot box this October.
The passage of HB 425, also known as the “Love Life Amendment,” means that a constitutional amendment containing explicit language stating that Louisiana citizens do not have a right to abortion will appear on October 12’s ballot along with Louisiana’s gubernatorial election. Louisiana State Representative Katrina Jackson, a Democrat from Monroe and author of the bill said of it: “It would be the people of the state of Louisiana determining what they thought about life.”
The proposed amendment would guarantee that nothing in Louisiana’s state constitution either protects a right to abortion or requires public funding of abortion care; this language is similar to Amendment 1 in West Virginia and Amendment 2 in Alabama, both of which passed on their respective state ballots during November 2018’s midterm elections. As is the case with Louisiana’s trigger ban, the constitutional amendment would not have any tangible effect on abortion rights unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. This soon-to-be amendment is yet another mechanism that abortion opponents have used widely, mainly in Southern and Midwestern states, to ensure that there is no room for advocates to protect abortion rights in the case of Roe’s fall.
Louisiana already has other anti-abortion laws on the books, including the “Human Life Protection Act,” passed in 2006, which would automatically and immediately outlaw all abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade were to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Laws like these are known as “trigger laws” or “trigger bans” and so far five other states – Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota – have enacted similar bans. Currently, there are also numerous other proposed abortion bans in state legislatures in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
Media resources: NOLA.com, 5/19/2019; The Advocate, 5/21/2019; CBS News, 4/22/2019; Rewire News, 5/21/2019; Vox, 11/7/2018; The Guardian, 5/21/2019