A GOP-controlled committee within the Louisiana legislature advanced a bill on Wednesday that would make abortion a homicide. If passed, both the mother and those performing or aiding in the procedure could be arrested and put on trial.
“This is saying that people can be charged with murder for any act that they take against their own pregnancy,” said reproductive rights lawyer Ellie Schilling to The Associated Press.
The AP reports:
The bill also declares that any federal law, regulation or court ruling that allows abortion is void and that any judge who blocks enforcement of the bill’s provisions could be impeached.
“Is Roe vs. Wade the law of the land? We believe the answer is no,” anti-abortion attorney Bradley Pierce told the committee during a hearing at the Capitol in Baton Rouge.
A provision in the bill would expand the definition of a person to include a fertilized egg outside the womb. Pro-choice advocates say that effectively criminalizes in vitro fertilization, because the process often involves discarding unused fertilized eggs.
The bill advanced by a 7-2 vote, although one supporter, Republican Rep. Tony Bacala, admitted it “won’t pass (constitutional) muster.”
“While I intend to vote for this bill, I would suggest that there may be better options that can actually go into practice instead of concepts that I feel like are probably going to be struck down,” Bacala said.
[Pierce] said state legislatures have the right to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court if they disagree with any high court decision.
“If the Supreme Court ignores the (U.S.) Constitution, you should ignore the court,” Pierce said. “The Legislature has the right to disregard the Supreme Court.
Rep. Danny McCormick introduced the legislation before Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade leaked earlier this week.
The AP provides key context:
Louisiana already has a “trigger law” criminalizing abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned, which would subject doctors or others who perform abortions to up to 10 years in prison. But the law does not call for prosecution of the pregnant woman.
McCormick’s bill, which would amend homicide statutes, has no exception and abortion rights attorneys said it would subject women to prosecution.