As our nation weighs the results of the presidential election, votes were cast not just for political candidates. In the state of Louisiana voters passed the “Love Life Amendment” by a significant 62% of the vote. This state constitutional amendment used “abortion neutral” language to declare that the Louisiana constitution does not provide a right to abortion nor does it allow for taxpayer funding of abortion. This amendment ensures that any part of the Louisiana constitution cannot be used to justify repealing pro-life legislation already in place. Elsewhere in the country pro-life legislation has been overturned by appeals to a state’s constitution. In Kansas, for instance, a judge ruled that a law that protected unborn babies from late-term abortions violated its constitution and so that law was repealed.
Here in Rhode Island, we recently passed the “Reproductive Privacy Act” in 2019 as a general law. The bill abrogated a series of prior laws that would restrict abortion in the state. The bill bans the state from restricting “an individual person from preventing, commencing, continuing, or terminating that individual’s pregnancy prior to fetal viability” or after fetal viability “to preserve the heath or life” of the woman.
Louisiana’s amendment does not directly ban abortions in the state, but it is a step in the right direction. It shows a possible strategy for pro-life legislators. Louisiana’s recent legislation should give us hope and a path forward. The fight continues as we try to uphold the sanctity of life.