State lawmakers debate amendments to pending abortion law

Published: Jun. 2, 2022 at 10:43 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2022 at 6:56 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - On Thursday, state lawmakers debated 15 pages of amendments to pending legislation for the state’s abortion statutes, refusing to add exceptions for rape and incest.

The amendment that would have allowed women and girls who become pregnant from incidents of rape or incest the right to an abortion failed on the house floor in a 37 to 62 vote.

“I believe there should be at least two exceptions that should be afforded to women in Louisiana,” said Rep. Cedric Glover (D-Shreveport), who presented the amendment which was met with some back and forth from lawmakers.

“For me, I try to be consistent. I do believe this is consistent with supporting life in this way,” said Rep. Julie Emerson (R-Carencro) who opposes the amendment. She was also carrying the bill for bill author Senator Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe).

“I’m pro-life but again where do exceptions come? Are we really saying here in Louisiana ‘oh it’s a hard decision to make’ but this child should have to bear a child and mentally try to keep herself healthy to bring a child into this world?” debated Rep. Tammy Phelps (D-Shreveport).

In the end, Rep. Glover’s amendment did not pass in vote.

Sen. Jackson’s bill also includes a possible 10-year prison sentence for doctors and others who perform abortions. But some lawmakers in favor of the tighter restrictions on abortion in the bill believe it reflects the ideals of Louisiana voters.

“I think that this language has already been in law for a while and people of this state have been clear where they stood on this,” said Rep. Emerson. “62 percent of people voted on the Love Life amendment a couple of years ago which stated that there is no right to abortion in Louisiana after the overturn of Roe v. Wade, should that comes to pass.”

Like some existing laws, SB342 would take effect if Roe v. Wade is reversed.

The bill will now go back to the Senate for a vote on the House language changes. If it passes, and no additional amendments are debated, it will head to the governor’s desk for signature. Again-- the abortion proposals are all contingent on the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

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