BATON ROUGE, La. — Residents in Louisiana will vote next month on a ballot initiative that asks whether or not the state Constitution should be amended to include a sentence declaring that there is no “right to abortion” in the state.
Amendment 1, also known as the No Right to Abortion in Constitution amendment, would add a sentence to the Louisiana Declaration of Rights that reads, “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.”
Voters will be asked on the ballot, “Do you support an amendment declaring that, to protect human life, a right to abortion and the funding of abortion shall not be found in the Louisiana Constitution?”
As previously reported, the measure was authored by Democratic Rep. Katrina Jackson of Monroe and was approved by both houses of the state legislature. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards supports the amendment as well.
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,” Jackson told radio station WBUR in June.
“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,” she explained. “I believe that as African Americans, we should be fighting to make sure that we implement policies that give families livable wages …”
Jackson said in introducing the initiative last year that the measure will ensure that the state of Louisiana never becomes like New York, which codified Roe v. Wade into state law in January 2019.
“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,’” she also stated at the 2019 March for Life in Washington. “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.”
Louisiana Right to Life has backed the initiative, urging residents to vote yes, while Louisiana for Personal Freedoms has expressed its opposition to the amendment. The coalition includes Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Louisiana, the New Orleans Abortion Fund, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Louisiana Trans Advocates.
“Our goal is to defeat Constitutional Amendment 1 so that Louisianans don’t lose bodily autonomy, endure forced pregnancies, or seek illegal abortion care that will be unregulated, possibly dangerous, and even deadly,” its website reads.
As previously reported, abortion was widely thought to be murder in early American history, especially by those who professed to be Christian.
In 1850, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court became the first high court in the nation to declare that abortion must be prohibited at any stage of gestation for any reason.
While other state courts allowed preborn babies to be aborted up to four months of gestation by reason of a “quickening” theory, which stated that a person was not protected until the mother felt them kicking in the womb, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would accept no such argument.
In Mills v. Commonwealth, the court declared that the theory “is not … the law in Pennsylvania, and ought never to have been the law anywhere.” The ruling became a strong precedent that other state courts began to review and follow.
By the 1900’s, due to the influence of the ruling, nearly every state in the nation prohibited abortion for any reason, with the exception of Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina.
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