Louisiana law would make abortion a homicide. Would Plan B also be illegal?

A Louisiana Legislative Committee has introduced a bill that would make abortion a homicide and ignore all federal decisions keeping abortion legal statewide.

The bill, introduced in March, was submitted for hearing less than two days after leaking a draft advisory opinion from the US Supreme Court that indicated the Supreme Court was preparing to rule Roe v. to overthrow Wade, who made abortion a constitutional right. Supporters of the bill stated that their legislation would outlaw abortion in Louisiana even if the bill were not accepted by the Supreme Court.

“I think the bill is simple,” Bradley Pierce, attorney and executive director of the Foundation to Abolish Abortion, told FOX Television Stations. “The pro-life movement has said that a fetus is a person from the moment of conception. This follows that belief to protect people before they are born with the same laws that protect them after they are born.”

The bill leaves no exceptions, and abortion rights advocates said it would prosecute women. Opponents fear the legislation would not do everything.

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Louisiana Right to Life, the state’s most prominent anti-abortion group, opposes the measure.

“Our longstanding policy is that women at risk of abortion should not be treated as criminals,” Louisiana Right to Life said in a written statement. “Instead, we should hold accountable those who are performing the abortion or selling or providing the chemical abortion drugs.”

Louisiana already has a “trigger law” criminalizing abortion should Roe v. Wade would be overturned, which would result in doctors or others performing abortions being sentenced to up to 10 years in prison. But the trigger law does not provide for criminal prosecution of pregnant women.

In addition to changing the killing law, the new bill would change the state’s legal definition of a person, which now includes a fertilized egg that has implanted in the uterus, to a simple fertilized egg.

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According to Flournoy, hormonal birth control, IUDs and IVF could be considered illegal. But Pierce, who helped draft the bill, said that’s not the intent.

Pierce said it would not ban IVF or contraceptives that prevent ovulation or fertilization. However, it could make emergency contraception like Plan B a gray area. In most cases, Plan B prevents ovulation or fertilization, but sometimes the drug works by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Plan B,” a form of birth control, is written on a shelf at a local pharmacy in Montgomery, Alabama, on May 20, 2019. (Photo by Seth HERALD / AFP)

“My concern is that women are now being interrogated in the ER to determine if they did anything to cause a miscarriage,” Flournoy said. “Any woman who miscarries has the potential to be harassed and interrogated.”

The bill does not include exceptions for rape, incest or ectopic pregnancy, which are life-threatening for women. Pierce said it wasn’t necessary.

“The bill would not prevent doctors from saving a patient’s life,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be on the bill because it’s already the law.”

There are 27 bills that have been tabled in the Louisiana Legislature that deal with abortion in this session, Flournoy said. One of these would make it illegal for companies to ship abortion pills through the mail, with criminal penalties for the providers but not for the women who order them. Abortion pills mifepristone and misoprostol are implicated in more than half of all abortions in America.

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“The extreme impact of these bad bills is still being determined,” Flournoy said. “The unintended consequences and the intended consequences are terrible for all women of childbearing age who will lose access to contraception and efforts to control their bodies.”

The measure will now move to the entire Louisiana House for debate. Rep. Tony Bacala, one of the lawmakers who voted on the bill in committee, said it is likely to be struck down by state or federal courts if it becomes law.

This story was reported from Seattle. The Associated Press contributed to this.

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