mcloudyn.png
Thursday July 7th, 2022 3:04AM

Louisiana debates murder charge for women who get abortions

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana's House of Representatives, venturing farther against abortion than lawmakers in any other state, is debating a bill to make women who end their pregnancies subject to criminal homicide prosecutions.

Republican Rep. Danny McCormick pushed for a House floor debate on his bill Thursday afternoon despite a crescendo of opposition from traditional supporters of abortion rights and longtime foes of legal abortion. Louisiana’s anti-abortion governor said he'd veto it, and Louisiana Right to Life and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops are against it.

“To suggest that a woman would be jailed for an abortion is simply absurd,” Gov. John Bel Edwards, a devout Catholic and a Democrat who has long broken with his party on the abortion issue, said in a news release Wednesday.

“Our longstanding policy is that abortion-vulnerable women should not be treated as criminals,” Louisiana Right to Life said in a statement.

The Catholic bishops said they are “unequivocally" opposed to the bill. And the National Right to Life Committee on Thursday issued an “open letter to the nation's state legislators" that didn't mention the Louisiana bill specifically, but said “any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women is not pro-life and we stand firmly opposed to such efforts.”

McCormick disagrees, saying a woman who has an abortion should be in the same legal position as a woman who takes the life of a child after birth. “When I give equal protection to the unborn, that's the possibility,” he said in a Wednesday evening phone interview.

The House had not yet started debating the controversial abortion legislation when the building was temporarily evacuated Thursday after the speaker interrupted proceedings and said an unknown, unclaimed package had been found in the capitol’s Memorial Hall — the cavernous gathering area between the House and the Senate Chambers.

It came on a day when legislation was already moving slowly as lawmakers tried to find a compromise on McCormick’s bill. The House recessed for more than an hour while lawmakers broke into groups behind closed doors to discuss the legislation.

Pending at the time was a new amendment by Rep. Alan Seabaugh. The Shreveport Republican is an anti-abortion stalwart. But his amendment would completely revamp McCormick’s bill, eliminating the criminal penalties for women, allowing abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman and okaying the use of contraceptives.

McCormick's bill has drawn intense scrutiny in light of last week’s leak of a draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion indicating the high court is preparing to overturn decisions upholding a constitutional right to abortion.

There’s no indication yet that lawmakers in other states are taking up similar legislation. In Idaho, Republican state Rep. Heather Scott has proposed prosecuting women who get abortions, but a committee chairman said Friday he would not allow it. “There are still reasonable people in the Legislature who are going to ensure that extreme bills like that are not going to get a hearing,” Rep. Brent Crane said.

“In my committee, I’m not going to hear that bill that puts a woman on trial for murder. If you’ll take that portion of the bill out, if you’ll put the doctor on trial for murder ... then we can talk about having a hearing on your bill,” Crane said on Idaho Public Television.

McCormick introduced his bill in March in an attempt to end abortion regardless of what any court does.

In addition to rewriting homicide statutes to include abortion, it 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.

Edwards called the bill “patently unconstitutional.”

He joined critics of the bill saying it criminalizes some types of contraception and parts of the in vitro fertilization process. McCormick on Thursday said forms of contraception that don't destroy a fertilized egg would not be affected. And he disputes that the bill would newly criminalize some aspects of in vitro fertilization, pointing to state law that already grants rights to an “in vitro fertilized human ovum.”

Anti-abortion legislation usually passes easily in Louisiana's Legislature but the emphatic opposition from some anti-abortion stalwarts could bolster attempts to derail the measure or heavily amend it.

Louisiana already has laws on the books criminalizing abortion, including a “trigger law” ensuring that it will be a crime if the Supreme Court reverses the Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 ruling establishing abortion rights. The statutes appear to exempt women from prosecution, although some abortion rights advocates have suggested they need tightening.

McCormick said the existing laws are inadequate to give fetuses equal protection under law. “This is a debate we need to have in Louisiana,” he said. “There are good people on both sides of the debate."

___

Associated Press writer Holly Ramer contributed to this report from Concord, New Hampshire.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Georgian wants Congress to decry prosecution of abortions
A Georgia representative wants Congress to condemn attempts to criminally prosecute people who perform abortions or women who have abortions or experience miscarriages
11:30AM ( 7 minutes ago )
Louisiana debates murder charge for women who get abortions
Louisiana's House of Representatives is debating whether women who get abortions should face prosecution for murder
11:28AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Rights group: Israel approves over 4,000 new settler homes
Israel has advanced plans for the construction of more than 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank
11:27AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Finland moves toward joining NATO amid Russia threats
Finland’s leaders have come out in favor of applying to join NATO, and Sweden could do the same within days
11:03AM ( 34 minutes ago )
Report criticizes meat industry, USDA response to pandemic
A new Congressional report says that at the height of the pandemic, the meat processing industry worked closely with political appointees in the Trump administration to stave off health restrictions and keep slaughterhouses open even as COVID-19 spread rapidly among workers
10:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
Astronomers capture 1st image of Milky Way's huge black hole
Astronomers have unveiled the first wild but fuzzy image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy
9:57AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Alabama shipwreck holds key for kin of enslaved Africans
A crew working on the Alabama coast is assessing the remains of the last slave ship known to have landed in the United States, more than 160 years ago
8:39AM ( 2 hours ago )
Army poised to revamp Alaska forces to prep for Arctic fight
U.S. Army leaders say they are poised to revamp forces in Alaska to better prepare for future cold-weather conflicts
6:14AM ( 5 hours ago )
New Mexico wildfire grows; California fire destroys mansions
More people in northern New Mexico are being warned they might have to flee as a wildfire heads toward mountain resort towns
1:30AM ( 10 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
North Macedonia: US leads exercise in NATO's newest member
U.S. troops are joining forces from Britain, France, Italy and allied countries in the region in a military exercise held in NATO’s newest member North Macedonia
10:41AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Biden co-hosts 2nd global COVID summit as US nears 1M deaths
President Joe Biden will appeal for a renewed international commitment to attacking COVID-19 as the second global pandemic summit opens
8:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
Party official: Wickremesinghe to be appointed Sri Lankan PM
A party official says five-time former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will be reappointed in an effort to bring stability to the island nation, engulfed in a political and economic crisis
7:34AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Live updates | Ukraine reports more airstrikes on Azovstal
Ukraine’s military says Russian forces are continuing airstrikes on the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol and pressing their advance on towns in eastern Ukraine
2:03AM ( 9 hours ago )
Trump-backed US Rep. Alex Mooney wins W.Va. GOP primary
Congressman Alex Mooney has won the Republican nomination for one of West Virginia’s two seats in the U.S. House
9:18PM ( 14 hours ago )
Live updates | Russia-Ukraine War
An adviser to the Mariupol mayor says Russian forces have blocked all evacuation routes out of the city
8:38PM ( 14 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Rights group: Israel approves over 4,000 new settler homes
Israel has advanced plans for the construction of more than 4,000 settler homes in the occupied West Bank
11:27AM ( 11 minutes ago )
UK warns 'no choice but to act' to change Brexit deal
Britain’s foreign secretary has warned the European Union that the U.K. will have “no choice but to act” to revoke parts of a Brexit agreement on Northern Ireland if the EU doesn't show flexibility
11:22AM ( 16 minutes ago )
County, governor spar over protests at justices' homes
Fairfax County officials have rebuffed a request from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to establish a security perimeter around the neighborhoods of Supreme Court justices living in the county who have faced protests outside their homes
11:20AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Wickremesinghe chosen Sri Lanka PM in effort to quell crisis
Five-time former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been reappointed in an effort to bring stability to the island nation engulfed in a political and economic crisis
11:18AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Finland moves toward joining NATO amid Russian threats
Finland’s leaders have come out in favor of applying to join NATO, and Sweden could do the same within days
11:16AM ( 22 minutes ago )