Voters in Louisiana approved a ballot initiative on Tuesday that adds a sentence to the state Constitution noting that the document cannot be construed to find a “right to abortion” in the state. However, the move will not affect any laws in Louisiana unless the issue of abortion is sent back to the states via an overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Amendment 1, also known as the No Right to Abortion in Constitution amendment, adds text 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.”
According to the latest tally, the measure passed by 62.1% to 37.9%, or 1.2 million votes in favor to 778K votes against.
As previously reported, the measure was authored by Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, and supported by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards.
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.”
After midnight on Wednesday, upon learning that the ballot initiative was approved by voters, Jackson simply wrote to social media, “To God be the glory! … I’m grateful to God!”
The religious liberties organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) also applauded the outcome.
“Louisiana voters have reaffirmed that every innocent human life — whether born or not — is worthy of legal protection and clarified that no ‘right to abortion’ can be found in their state’s constitution,” Senior Counsel Denise Burke said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, state court judges in more than a dozen other states have already invented or manufactured a state-level constitutional right to abortion where none exists. But government should protect life instead of pretending that abortion is somehow healthcare.”
“Louisiana voters have taken an important step toward strengthening a culture of life and ending abortion on demand in their state.”
As previously reported, abortion was widely thought to be murder in 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.
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