Louisiana “Abortion Ban” Bill HB 645 Could Increase Abortions
Sometimes our passion for a legislative fix to save the life of the yet to be born can have some unintended consequences. This is the problem with La HB 645, so the following is the response/fact sheet prepared by legal counsel to address the issues:
“This Bill has unintended consequences due to its repeal of current pro-life laws Legal analysis by pro-life constitutional law attorneys Dorinda C. Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund, and J. Michael Johnson, who formerly served as Senior Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. Both Bordlee and Johnson are Louisiana attorneys who have extensive legislative and litigation experience in the Louisiana and national pro-life legal arenas.
The following Louisiana organizations join this statement to educate legislators and citizens about the dangerous, unintended consequences of HB 645:
Louisiana Right to Life, Ben Clapper, Executive Director
Louisiana Family Forum, Gene Mills, Executive Director
Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops, Danny Loar, Executive Director
Louisiana Baptist Convention, Dr. John Yeats, Director of Communications
This factsheet is presented for the purpose of public education to highlight some of the disconcerting facts about proposed legislation made public last week in the form of a substitute bill by Representative John Labruzzo (R-Met), La. H.B. 645.
The bottom line is that HB 645 could have the unintended consequence of increasing abortion rates in Louisiana. We emphasize that we do not question the good intentions of Rep. Labruzzo, a committed pro-life legislator, in filing this bill. We do, however, question whether the potential negative impact of the bill, as drafted by an out of state group with no experience in Louisiana law, is sufficiently understood.
Contrary to media reports, HB 645 is not limited to an attempt to ban abortion, a common goal of the pro-life movement. Rather, the newly submitted substitute bill expressly repeals and removes important abortion restrictions that have made Louisiana one of the most life-protective states in the nation.
A partial listing of statutes that would be repealed by HB 645 includes abortion funding restrictions, the restriction against non-physician abortion providers; and the recently passed Ultrasound Before Abortion requirement. HB 645, on its own terms and as impacted by imminent federal court rulings, follows an unnecessarily risky strategy due to its express repeal of current pro-life legal protections.
As pro-life, pro-family organizations committed to defending the sanctity of all human life, we provide this educational resource to highlight the provisions that unintentionally place the lives of Louisiana’s unborn children and their mothers at imminent risk of harm.
FACTSHEET: HB 645
The new substitute HB 645 by Rep. John Labruzzo is not limited to provisions to ban abortion, a common goal of the pro-life movement; rather it takes the surprisingly dangerous and unnecessary step of expressly repealing certain life-saving abortion restrictions that protect the unborn and safeguard women and the public health in Louisiana. Here’s a partial list of some of the pro-life legal protections repealed by HB 645:
· Repeals Important Abortion Restrictions
HB 645 expressly eliminates a number of life-saving, pro-life laws, including: the repeal of the physician-only requirement: When the ban is invalidated, this repeal would allow non-physicians to perform abortions thereby increasing the supply of abortionists; the repeal of the Ultrasound before Abortion requirement: When the ban is invalidated, this would allow the abortion industry to refuse women the right to see the ultrasonic images of their unborn children; the repeal of sections of Louisiana’s abortion funding restrictions: Even without a court ruling, HB 645 repeals provisions that disqualify Louisiana citizens of all Medicaid coverage for legitimate health care services, including prenatal care and well baby visits for need-based claims. The bill has the unintended consequence of denying Medicaid reimbursement relied on by many of Louisiana’s elderly and needy children, as well as for life-saving services provided by faith-based and charitable health providers and organizations.
· When a court declares HB 645’s abortion ban unconstitutional, our existing abortion restrictions will still be jeopardized. It is an imminent certainty that HB 645 will be challenged in court, and summarily invalidated by the federal district and appellate courts. Only a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and its progeny would save the law, and it is widely
recognized that we are at least one vote shy of the five needed to reverse Roe. Moreover, many pro-life legal scholars believe a premature challenge to Roe could actually be counterproductive, and risk a decision that creates a new legal justification for the so-called right to abortion. The inherent problem with HB 645 is that Louisiana’s existing abortion restrictions and regulations will be caught in the crossfire of that lengthy litigation and could remain repealed and invalidated as a consequence.
A call to reason: Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Louisiana pro-life and pro-family ministries and organizations, and with the support of Governor Jindal and his pro-life predecessors, Louisiana has consistently led the way in enacting the most life-protective laws in the nation. We ask legislators to consider the serious risks and unintended consequences of HB 645, as we all continue to work as aggressively as possible toward our common goal of making abortion both illegal and undesirable.”