The recent leak of a Supreme Court opinion leads some to believe that the landmark case Roe v. Wade is soon to be overturned. Even with that decision looming, Rep. Danny McCormick’s bill would defy the court immediately and block any future court protections for abortion from being recognized in Louisiana.
“This is a bill to immediately end abortion in the state of Louisiana. No compromises, no more waiting,” Pastor Brian Gunter said.
Proponents of the bill said the legislature can stand up to the court if they don’t agree with their stance – but that violates the supremacy clause, which says federal law takes precedence over state law.
Louisiana already has trigger laws to ban abortion statewide should Roe v. Wade be overturned. HB813 looks to take things a step further to classify a person as being in existence the moment an egg is fertilized. It would provide the unborn fetus the same protections as someone who has been born and classify abortion as a homicide.
“The taking of a life is murder, and it is illegal. Louisiana law currently fails to provide equal protection for human life. Persons are deemed unworthy of legal protection for no other reason than they are not yet born,” said Rep. Danny McCormick, R-Oil City.
Some fear this could lead to charges against women for homicide or battery in cases of miscarriage or infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization. In IVF treatments, an egg is taken from the woman and fertilized with sperm in a lab dish by doctors. Then the egg is placed back into the uterus in hopes of beginning a pregnancy. One attorney shared her struggle with the first fertilized egg not taking and not becoming a valid pregnancy.
“This bill would give those cells personhood. Such that anything that happens to them after could give rise to criminal prosecution. This criminalizes IVF,” said Sarah Omojola, a New Orleans attorney.
“We can go too far and know that a bill is going to be stricken by the courts… or we can try to find something that moderates that in such that maybe something that is enforceable,” Rep. Tony Bacala, R-Prairieville, said.
Rep. Joe Marino suggested taking the emotion of the topic out and considering the legality of what the bill proposes. He raised the issue of the bill violating the supremacy clause and emphasized that many on the committee are anti-abortion.
Some also said the bill could have repercussions for use of birth control since it slows down ovulation to prevent fertilization or the bill could prevent women from getting life-saving care if it jeopardizes a fetus.
The bill passed with a vote of 7-2 and now heads to the full House.