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Louisiana Removes Murder Charge From Abortion Bill

'To suggest that a woman would be jailed for an abortion is simply absurd,' said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards

A Louisiana lawmaker who introduced a bill that would classify abortion as homicide withdrew the proposal Thursday after the state House voted to amend the legislation.

State Rep. Danny McCormick, who sponsored the bill, called the Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act, decided to accept the change after the state House voted 65-26 to change several provisions in the bill. One such change included removing language that allowed women to be charged with murder for having abortions.

Another State Representative, Alan Seabaugh, proposed the change. His amendment sought to completely revamp McCormick’s bill, eliminating the criminal penalties for women, allowing abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman, and permitting the use of contraceptives.

The bill’s original text proposed a change in state definitions that designated an “unborn child” as an individual human. The individual human was granted such personhood from the moment of conception. The measure further outlined that causing the death would be considered assault, battery, and homicide of an individual human. 

During the House session on Thursday, McCormick criticized his colleagues, saying, “The vast majority in this room claim to be pro-life, yet today, when Roe is on the chopping block, and we have the clear opportunity to end abortion in our state, we are faltering and trying to explain it away.”

Before Thursday’s change, the bill would have permitted abortion providers, women obtaining abortions, and people who assisted them to potentially be charged with homicide.

If the bill aims to “treat as void and of no effect any and all federal statutes, regulations, treaties, orders, and court rulings which would deprive an unborn child of the right to life or prohibit the equal protection of such right.”

On Wednesday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards described the measure as “radical.” In a statement, he said, “House Bill 813 is not a pro-life bill”; rather, it was “patently unconstitutional.”

“To suggest that a woman would be jailed for an abortion is simply absurd,” said Edwards.

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