Lawmaker Aborts Controversial Abortion Bill
House Bill 813 is on hold for now.
The controversial bill that would have classified abortion as murder under Louisiana law was pulled from consideration by its sponsor after members of the Louisiana House of Representatives voted to amend the bill, rewording the vast majority of the proposal to make it nearly identical to an anti-abortion Senate bill.
Rep. Danny McCormick ended the debate on the bill by voluntarily returning the bill to the House calendar. This parliamentary move allows the House to bring the bill back to the floor if members choose to do so.
The debate began around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
Rep. McCormick began the debate by imploring his colleagues to vote for the bill.
Rep. McCormick's colleagues, including many in the House Republican Caucus, pointed out the bill was unconstitutional because it required the state to ignore the United State's Supreme Courts Roe v. Wade decision, forcing the state to violate the Constitution's Supremacy Clause. Other lawmakers pointed out that, as it was written, Rep. McCormick's bill banned contraception and in vitro fertilization. In fact, Rep. Barry Ivey (R-Central) called out Rep. McCormick for not understanding the full implications of his proposal.
Rep. McCormick ultimately conceded that at least one form of contraception, the intrauterine device, would be outlawed under his proposal--despite earlier saying that his bill would not impact women's access to contraception.
Rep. Alan Seabaugh (R-Shreveport) offered his amendment vastly rewriting the bill to eliminate the Supremacy Clause conflict and to avoid criminalizing contraception and IVF procedures. Rep. Seabaugh's amendments also provide for exceptions to the state's abortion ban, including procedures that would save the life of a mother, that would end an ectopic pregnancy, or to remove tissue remaining in the uterus after a miscarriage.
Rep. Seabaugh's amendment also removed the provision that would have allowed prosecutors to charge a woman who received an abortion with murder. Under the amended bill, only abortion providers could be charged with murder.
The newly-amended bill closely resembles a bill authored by Sen. Katrina Jackson (D-Shreveport). The Senate has already approved that bill. No word on when the House will take up that item.
While presenting his amendments, Rep. Seabaugh apologized for voting to advance the bill when it went before the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice.
Rep. McCormick opposed the amendments and urged his colleagues to keep the bill as it was.
The House voted to adopt the amendments by a vote of 65 to 26 with 14 absent.
Immediately after the House voted to amend the bill, Rep. McCormick removed his bill from the calendar.
Democrats and other opponents of the bill celebrated what they feel is a victory in the battle for reproductive freedom.
The Louisiana House Republican Delegation also took a victory lap, claiming it stopped a bill "that would have criminalize women." This victory lap comes despite the fact a Republican-led committee advanced the bill and some members publicly stating they'd vote for the bill in the full House.
Rep. McCormick has until June 6 to resurrect his bill.