Louisiana Right to Life opposes bill classifying abortion as homicide

HB 813 goes to the full House for debate on Thursday
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 10:31 PM CDT|Updated: May. 11, 2022 at 1:36 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - One of the state’s most prominent anti-abortion groups came out against a bill that would make it possible to charge women who get an abortion with murder.

Louisiana Right to Life, along with some other prominent religious organizations, said they will not support House Bill 813, which is heading to the House floor this Thursday.

“I think it’s one of the most horrible things I’ve come across in quite some time,” Gray Mitchell, a pro-choice citizen organizer said.

Mitchell organized a protest Tuesday against the bill in Lafayette Square.

“It affects people who don’t want to have an abortion as well criminalizing IUDs I mean, I know the government isn’t going to pay for all the doctor’s appointments, all the treatments that women are going to need to have and not only that, but they aren’t just for birth control to I mean, they regulate hormones,” Mitchell said.

Many at the protest criticized the proposed law as scientifically incorrect and overreaching.

The legislation would redefine a “person” as “from the moment of fertilization,” meaning that all homicide laws would apply to women who terminate a pregnancy at any stage of gestation from the moment of fertilization, without the need for implantation of the egg.

Louisiana Right to Life, which is behind many of the state’s anti-abortion laws, said this is inconsistent with their work, protecting mothers and babies.

“For years the abortion industry has really diminished the harm toward women that abortion brings and I think that this is just completely, unfortunately, just a backward step and I think the majority of the pro-life movement would agree with that,” Sarah Zagorski, the Communications Director for Louisiana Right to Life said.

However, Pastor Brian Gunter of Livingston First Baptist, who helped Representative Danny McCormick introduce the bill, disagrees.

“They’re being inconsistent and not following their pro-life ethic through because the question should become if you don’t want to end abortion and criminalize it, you’re saying that some people can be killed without criminal consequences,” Gunter said.

Louisiana Right to Life said it is working to instead criminalize things like mail-order abortion pills and put the prosecution on providers.

“I think the focus needs to be on the industry that’s brought upon this pain and suffering for women,” Zagorski said. “That’s where our focus should be if they’re looking for a criminal prosecution, they should be looking toward the abortion physicians and the abortion industry as a whole.”

However, others believe this shouldn’t even be up for debate.

“I think it’s absolutely horrific that the government is trying to interfere with our bodies. It violates our autonomy,” Mitchell said.

FOX 8 did not get responses from many of the legislators who passed the bill out of committee, including the bill’s author, McCormick. Representative Jonathan Goudeau from Lafayette did respond and said he only passed it through with the agreement there would be amendments/. He called this a bad bill but does not want to deviate from his anti-abortion stance.

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