A new bill that has been advanced by lawmakers in Louisiana is seeking to criminalize abortion, with mothers and those involved in the act facing possible homicide charges. The bill aims to completely abolish abortion in the state by granting unborn children constitutional rights.
The bill, called the "Abolition of Abortion Act," aims to alter the state's current homicide legislation to guarantee the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the time of conception by safeguarding them by the same laws protecting other human beings.
The text on the proposed bill says that the full extent of the law should be imposed on those found guilty "without regard to the opinions and judgments of the Supreme Court." Experts said the wording effectively means that the Supreme Court would no longer have any overriding authority over abortion cases within the state.
The bill also proposes that people involved in some forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization be guilty of homicide, as fertilized eggs are being defined as persons with rights.
Opponents of the law claim that it looks to allow for the prosecution of anybody who has or performs an abortion on murder charges. The bill was approved by a 7-2 committee vote and is now moving to Louisiana's House of Representatives.
The advancement of the bill came two days after a leaked draft judgment revealed the Supreme Court's intention to reverse the milestone Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion statewide in 1973. The final decision is expected to be released in June.
The bill is one of a slew of proposals by conservative politicians throughout the country to limit abortion access, a hint that Republicans are feeling encouraged by the leaked draft judgment. If the Roe v. Wade decision is reversed, such limits might expand beyond the so-called trigger laws, bans, and other controls that will take effect in 26 states. Louisiana is one of only 13 states with that trigger law.
South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem said this week that if the milestone ruling is overturned, she will convene a special legislative session to prohibit abortion completely. Nebraska and Indiana lawmakers have also suggested holding special sessions to examine restricting abortion rights within their respective states.
The conservative measures come as pro-choice activists work to extend and defend abortion access in more liberal states, with plans to push California and Vermont voters to enshrine abortion rights in their respective constitutions.