Louisiana is debating making abortion a homicide “from the moment of fertilization”
This is what a post-Roe future may look like.
With the Supreme Court poised to repeal the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that ensures federal access to reproductive health care such as abortions, a group of conservative lawmakers in Louisiana aren’t waiting for court’s official decision to begin yanking bodily autonomy away from people. Instead, they’re moving ahead with a new measure to prosecute patients, doctors, and anyone involved in helping terminate a pregnancy as having committed murder — “from the moment of fertilization” onward.
On Wednesday, the unambiguously named “Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022” sailed through the state House’s Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice by a vote of 7-2, setting up a full House debate on a bill which even its supporters acknowledge is — for the time being — unconstitutional.
“If the Supreme Court ignores the (U.S.) Constitution, you should ignore the court,” Foundation to Abolish Abortion Executive Director Bradley told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “The Legislature has the right to disregard the Supreme Court.”
The bill, officially H.B.813, was introduced by Republican state Rep. Danny McCormick, who made national headlines in 2020 for posting, and then hastily deleting, a wildly antisemitic meme on his official Facebook page. McCormick has said Rev. Brian Gunter of the First Baptist church in Livingston, Louisiana, helped him draft the measure.
“No compromises; no more waiting,” Gunter told the Advertiser. “The bloodshed in our land is so great we have a duty ... to protect the least of these among us.”
Crucially, McCormick’s bill expressly acknowledges that its effort to criminalize reproductive health as homicide is leapfrogging the Supreme Court’s pending Roe ruling, stating in plain text that the measure is intended to be enacted “without regard to the opinions and judgments of the Supreme Court of the United States in Roe v. 29 Wade, 410 U.S. 113(1973), and its judicial progeny, past and future.”
After passing through committee, the bill is set to move to the House floor for debate, where Republicans enjoy a nearly 2-to-1 majority.