On Election Day, 64 percent of Louisiana voters approved Amendment 1, the “Love Life Amendment,” which adds language to the Louisiana Declaration of Rights, stating, “nothing in the state’s constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
Proponents of the measure wanted to ensure that the rights to due process and privacy are never interpreted in a way that protect abortion rights if Roe v. Wade were ever struck down.
This was the first time Louisianans were able to vote directly on anything related to abortion. The new language will prevent courts from ruling on a “right to abortion” or to allow public funding of abortion.
State Senator Katrina Jackson, a pro-life Democrat, authored the amendment when she was a state representative, along with dozens of co-sponsors from both parties. She was an outspoken advocate for a “heartbeat bill” that passed the House last year. The bill prohibits abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected in the womb.
Senator John Milkovich, a Democrat, sponsored SB 184 to require an ultrasound be conducted prior to any abortion. If a heartbeat is detected, the bill bans abortion unless, under penalty of perjury, the abortion provider declares the procedure necessary “to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
The bill also includes an exemption in the event that a physician certifies that the “unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth.”
Jackson said, “It’s important to understand that Amendment 1 is not a ban on abortion. It simply keeps abortion policy in the hands of our legislators rather than state judges. Our body of pro-life laws ensure that women are empowered with the truth about their pregnancy prior to an abortion, that minors seeking an abortion have parental consent, and that babies born alive following a botched abortion receive immediate medical care.”
Alabama, Tennessee and West Virginia have similar language in their constitutions. Like Louisiana, Alabama and West Virginia voters passed by direct ballot initiatives constitutional amendments to explicitly establish no right to abortion. Tennessee’s constitution also makes clear abortion is not a right in the state.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “I commend the people of Louisiana for fighting for precious babies and passing this ‘Love Life Amendment.’ This is a positive step to awaken the conscience of our nation to the violence of abortion. I am grateful that Louisiana is not afraid to take significant action toward making the womb a safe place again.”
Louisiana Right to Life, a primary advocate of the amendment, was involved in organized advocacy efforts throughout the state, and published information to help get the amendment passed, including a video posted on YouTube.