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Abortion amendment passes in Louisiana. Here’s what that could mean

Updated: Nov. 4, 2020 at 4:49 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - On the election ballot, Amendment 1, also known as the “love life” amendment, passed in the state of Louisiana with more than 60-percent of the vote.

For the first time, Louisiana voters had the opportunity to vote directly on the issue of abortion in any context. In this case, it asked voters whether they support an amendment claiming no specific wording should be found in the state constitution protecting the right to an abortion.

“This is one of the constitutional amendments that even if you went in there pro-life or pro-choice, it could have [the ballot language] been confusing,” Fox 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said.

Meaning a vote yes would state that a voter agrees on nothing in the constitution protects a right to abortion. Where a no vote would leave the constitution with no specific language on abortion.

“Prior to this constitutional amendment, the Louisiana constitution was silent about abortion. Now we have explicit language saying nothing in this constitution protects the right to an abortion,” Sherman said.

Ben Clapper with Louisiana Right to Life says the passing of Amendment 1 was a big success even though it doesn’t ban abortions today.

"What it does do is protects pro-life laws that are on the books today like “inform consent” ultra-sound laws that are supported by a vast majority of Louisianans, in addition to bans on taxpayer funding of abortion. This amendment protects those laws from judges who might want to usurp the power of our legislators and declare their own policy," Clapper said.

Making sure that Louisiana lawmakers are the ones making the policy decisions on abortion and not judges. Something the New Orleans Abortion Fund disagrees with.

The organization wasn’t available for an on-camera interview but released this statement:

“The New Orleans Abortion Fund and all other Louisianans who value our right to make decisions for our own lives, bodies and families will continue to support and respect people who have abortions. We will work to protect and expand abortion access until everyone in our community is able to receive affordable care when they need it, without fear or stigma.”

“If Roe V. Wade goes away, there will be state by state decisions about whether or not to allow abortions. In Louisiana, this amendment will take away the right for anyone to claim the Louisiana constitution protects the right to an abortion,” Sherman said.

For now, Amendment 1 is considered a symbolic move, but one that could become very important if the US Supreme Court overturns or scales back the Roe v. Wade abortion case.

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