Louisiana lawmakers withdraw bill declaring abortion homicide
By Sharon Bernstein
(Reuters) – A bill in the Louisiana legislature aiming to charge women and their doctors with murder for obtaining or providing abortion services was withdrawn from consideration on Thursday amid outrage and a successful effort to amend it.
The measure by state Representative Danny McCormick would have would have abolished abortion in the state, granted constitutional rights to “all unborn children from the moment of fertilization” and classified abortion as a homicide crime.
The measure drew international attention and was criticized by people on both sides of the abortion debate.
It was removed from discussion by McCormick late Thursday after opponents amended it to say that women could not be charged with murder for seeking or obtaining an abortion and by inserting an exception to the state’s abortion ban for the life of the mother, the state’s legislative information website showed.
After the amendments, the measure was “returned to the calendar,” the website showed. McCormick did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Prosecuting women for obtaining abortions is not favored even by many anti-abortion groups, and the Louisiana Right to Life group said last week that it opposed the bill. The group said on its Facebook page on Thursday that it did not expect the measure to return for further consideration during the current legislative session.
“Louisiana Right to Life applauds the Louisiana House of Representatives for a united stand for life and for moms,” the group said in a press release.
McCormick introduced the bill two days after a leaked draft ruling showed the U.S. Supreme Court poised to overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The bill was one of a raft of proposals by lawmakers in conservative states to restrict access to abortion and a sign of Republicans feeling emboldened by the leaked draft opinion. Such restrictions could go further than the so-called trigger laws, bans and other regulations that will take effect in some 26 states should Roe be overturned.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Bradley Perrett)