By Will Hall, Message Editor
BATON ROUGE (LBM) – A coalition of pro-life groups and individuals has launched a public campaign to support an amendment to the Louisiana Constitution that would prevent state courts from establishing a “right to abortion” or requiring state funds be used for abortion.
The initiative comes as radical late-term abortion legislation, described by critics as allowing “up to the moment of birth” abortion, was passed in New York and defeated in Virginia, with other state legislatures lining up to pursue similar measures.
Ben Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, told the Baptist Message the amendment simply will read “Nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
He said that the amendment “is silent on exceptions” such as rape and incest “because these issues are addressed in state law.”
“The supreme courts of a dozen states have found a right to abortion in their constitutions,” he said. “We can’t let this happen in Louisiana.
Two lawmakers are leading the state house effort for the amendment, which is aimed at preventing state court judges from overturning pro-life laws, for instance, that provide for informed consent, parental consent, as well as an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.
Rep. Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) and Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton) are the lead authors of the proposed legislation that will need two-thirds approval in both the House and the Senate in order to place the amendment on the fall ballot for approval by a simple majority of Louisiana voters.
Mizell is a Louisiana Baptist and a member of the First Baptist Church in Franklinton.
David Hankins, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, said he plans to urge Louisiana Baptists to put their full support behind the constitutional amendment as it makes its way through the legislature and becomes a ballot measure.
“We must continue to make every effort to protect the life of the unborn in our state,” Hankins said. “It is fundamental to our biblical understanding of the preciousness of life from the womb through natural death.”
Hankins added that the LBC effort will be headed by Will Hall, director of the LBC Office of Public Policy, and a member of the coalition supporting the amendment.
“We will reach out to pastors to help them inform their congregations about the issues and to urge them to engage their respective legislators and be energized about the vote in the fall,” Hall said.
Pro-Life Day is scheduled for April 23 at the Louisiana Capitol.