An anti-abortion bill in Louisiana would have subjected women to murder charges for having abortions. The sponsor of the bill sharply pulled the proposal from the debate last night after House members voted to completely revamp the legislation, striking out the criminal penalties, AP News reports.
The extremely controversial bill would have taken anti-abortion legislation further than any other state. Women who ended pregnancies would be subject to criminal homicide prosecutions.
Representative Danny McCormick, a Republican from Oil City, claimed that abortion is murder as he opened the debate.
His measures drew increasingly strong opposition from many people who are also anti-abortion. Among prominent anti-abortion organizations that opposed McCormick’s stance include Louisiana Right to Life, the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, and the National Right to Life Committee.
Gov. John Bel Edwards is a Democrat, and anti-abortion. He said that prosecuting women for abortion was “absurd.”
McCormick said that women who have abortions should be in the same legal positions as women who kill children after they are born.
The House did not begin debating the controversial legislation before the building was temporarily evacuated yesterday. The speaker interrupted proceedings and said that a suspicious package had been found inside the capitol’s Memorial Hall, prompting an evacuation.
A recess occurred, and lawmakers broke out into groups privately to discuss the legislation.
At the time, an amendment by anti-abortion Rep. Alan Seabaugh was pending, which overhauled the bill and declared women would not face criminal penalties and included an amendment that would permit abortion if it was needed to save the woman’s life. It also struck down language that appeared to make contraceptives and birth control, or some aspects of it, illegal.
Some of McCormick’s bill was widely regarded as blatantly unconstitutional. It declared any federal law, regulation, or court ruling that allows abortion is void, and any judge who blocks the enforcement of the bill’s provisions could be impeached. The amended version took this out too.
McCormick, the sponsor, is unlikely to advance it in the House. The Senate version may still proceed.