MONROE, La. — A Democratic lawmaker has put forward a ballot initiative that would allow residents to vote on whether the Louisiana Constitution should be amended to specifically declare that there is no right to an abortion in the state.
Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, recently put forward House Bill 425, known as the Love Life Amendment, with the support of dozens of co-sponsors.
“Be it resolved by the legislature of Louisiana,” the measure reads, “that there shall be submitted to the electors of the state of Louisiana, for their approval or rejection in the manner provided by law, a proposal to add Article I, Section 20.1 of the Constitution of Louisiana, to read as follows: ‘To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.'”
The bill to put the question on the 2020 ballot was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate last month, with a tally of 31-4, and has been similarly widely embraced in the House. Gov. John Bel Edwards, also a Democrat, said that he supports the constitutional amendment.
“[S]ince 1973, since the inception of [the] Roe vs. Wade opinion, 19 million black babies have been killed in the womb from abortion. That’s more blacks being killed from abortion than any other sickness, illness, or violent crime or non-violent crime combined,” Jackson told radio station WBUR this week.
Jackson describes herself and the governor as “whole-life Democrats,” meaning that they view the term pro-life more broadly to include wages, health care, Medicaid, criminal justice reform, and other aspects of everyday life.
“In Louisiana, Democrats consider themselves whole-life Democrats, which means we say we fight for life from the womb to the tomb. So, we fight for everyone’s life,” she told the outlet.
“I do not believe that abortion is an answer to poverty. One of the most egregious arguments that I hear daily is that a woman should have a choice based on whether or not she can take care of the child,” Jackson said. “I believe that as African Americans, we should be fighting to make sure that we implement policies that give families livable wages …”
The state representative spoke at this year’s March for Life in Washington, explaining that sometimes people don’t understand why she, as an African American female Democrat, would be pro-life.
“I tell people in my state when they ask me why you’re a black female Democrat fighting for life, I say, ‘Because I’m a Christian first,'” Jackson said, generating cheers. “And then I tell them that Proverbs says God hates the shedding of innocent blood. There’s no blood more innocent than an unborn child who’s never sinned, who never knew sin.”
In an article published by NBC News on June 3, Jackson was cited as being among the Democrats in the state who oppose abortion.
“I really consider it to be modern-day genocide,” she stated.
The Louisiana Baptist Convention supports Jackson’s constitutional amendment, voting unanimously on May 7 in favor of the proposal.
“The need for the ‘Love Life Amendment’ has been demonstrated by judicial action in 13 other states where judges in their highest courts found an inherent right to abortion in their respective constitutions,” the Baptist Message reported.
It pointed to the recent ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court, which concluded that the state Constitution’s fundamental right to “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” includes the right to abortion.
As previously reported, the court issued an opinion in April stating that Section 1 of the Kansas Bill of Rights “protects an inalienable natural right of personal autonomy, which … we hold to be fundamental.”
Jackson does not want to see the courts in Louisiana find a similar “right” to abortion in the state Constitution and is working to preemptively prevent it from occurring.
“Someone gave you a fighting chance,” Jackson said during a press conference last month. “If any of our mothers had not have chosen life, we wouldn’t be here. You believe you’re worth it. So, we believe the babies in the womb are worth having the same opportunity to live as all of you.”
“[Y]ou would have wanted us to fight for you,” she added. “It’s just that simple.”