This draconian anti-abortion bill would charge Louisiana women with homicide for ending a pregnancy

This draconian anti-abortion bill would charge Louisiana women with homicide for ending a pregnancy

Liberals and progressives — as well as some right-wing libertarians — are often accused of exaggerated hyperbole when they compare far-right white evangelical fundamentalists to the Taliban, al-Qaeda or ISIS (Islamic State, Iraq and Syria) or say that Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” is an accurate depiction of the type of Christianist regime they envision for the United States (or “Gilead”). But a draconian anti-abortion bill being proposed in Louisiana, House Bill 813, sounds a lot like “Gilead” — as it could subject women to murder charges if they terminate a pregnancy, according to The Advocate.

Louisiana is one of the deep red states where abortion is almost certain to become illegal if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, which now appears likely. In a leaked majority draft opinion first reported by Politico on Monday night, May 2, Justice Samuel Alito declares, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start…. We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

Some anti-abortion laws, in a post-Roe America, would be more severe than others — and in Louisiana, critics of HB 813 are warning that the bill would be quite draconian if it becomes law.

The Advocate’s Mark Ballard, in an article published on May 4, reports, “Two days after the leak of a U.S Supreme Court draft opinion on access to abortions, a Louisiana House committee, on Wednesday, advanced a bill that would allow women who terminate their pregnancies to be charged with murder. House Bill 813 also would allow Louisiana to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court decisions with which legislators don’t agree. The House Committee for the Administration of Criminal Justice voted 7-2 to advance the legislation that would immediately ban abortions — and not wait for the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade.”

Louisiana HB 813 was sponsored by Rep. Danny McCormick, a far-right Republican who serves in the Louisiana House of Representatives. According to Ballard, McCormick’s bill would apply Louisiana’s homicide laws to “a human being from the moment of fertilization.”

One of the bill’s outspoken critics is New Orleans-based attorney Ellie Schilling, who told The Advocate, “What this bill does (is) enable the state to charge people, including the pregnant person, the pregnant mother, at any stage of gestation from the moment of fertilization.”

Another New Orleans-based attorney who is sounding the alarm about HB 813 is Gwyneth O’Neill.

O’Neill told The Advocate, “This bill undermines the very system of government in this country…. This bill is reckless. This bill is bad law. This bill is blatantly unconstitutional.”


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