SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana voters will decide in November whether to add language to the state’s constitution stating that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a sweeping anti-abortion Louisiana law in June that could have left the state with just a single abortion clinic, but one Louisiana state lawmaker wants to be ready if the Supreme Court ever reverses Roe v. Wade.
State Sen. Katrina Jackson she authored an amendment that voters will see on their Nov. 3 ballot. The proposed amendment, which potentially could ban abortion statewide, says that Louisiana does not recognize a right to abortion or a right to government-funded abortion, even though the state does not offer government-funded abortions now.
The amendment would have no power unless the federal government changes access to abortion.
“In the event that the Supreme Court ever ruled that there’s no federal right to abortion, our constitution will already be in place to recognize that we don’t recognize the right to abortion,” Jackson said. “The very least I don’t believe that taxpayers should have to fund others’ abortions.”
Even though Louisiana law prohibits taxpayer-funded abortions, pro-choice advocates are concerned about the amendment’s language.
“It doesn’t say that women, it’ll still protect women that are pregnant as a result of rape or incest. It does not say that taxpayers are already not funding abortions because in the state that’s illegal,” said Kathleen Pitman, administrator at Hope Medical Center in Shreveport.
In addition, The Center For Reproductive Rights believes if the amendment is approved by voters, it will lead to long legal battles.
“I think that if this language was added to the constitution it will probably give more support to the legislators who want to continue to enact unconstitutional law and litigate with the hope of one day impacting the federal right to abortion,” said Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel for state policy and advocacy of Center for Reproductive Rights.