The 2022 Louisiana Legislative Session is complete! The session began March 14 and ended June 6. Louisiana Right to Life was at the Capitol throughout the session to protect life, promote adoption, and fight against anything that destroys human life! Without question, our legislative activity has been a hallmark of our organization since 1970, and we are proud to represent babies, mothers, and you as we advocate. Thanks for your prayers and support of our efforts!
Our first priority this session has been ensuring Louisiana law is ready for Roe v. Wade to be overturned if done through Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health allowing us to protect all babies. We are also leading the effort to stop the online mail-order sale of chemical abortion pills through our new “Stopping Illegal Sale of Chemical Abortion Act” authored by Senator Sharon Hewitt (R-Slidell).
Here’s our report from the 2022 Legislative Session!
SB 388 by Senator Sharon Hewitt creates the crime of the illegal sale of chemical abortions, especially when ordered online without medical oversight. This will help stop the illegal sale of chemical abortions, both now and in a post-Roe Louisiana. Tragically, out-of-state abortion businesses are selling dangerous abortion pills online and mailing them to Louisiana residents. Without ultrasound and physician evaluation, these pills can be harmful to pregnant women, potentially causing long-term bodily harm or even death.
Thank you to Senator Sharon Hewitt for leading the bill throughout the entire session and to House Representative Laurie Schlegel for helping secure passage on the House Floor.
SB 342 by Senator Katrina Jackson reaffirms Louisiana’s pro-life law that protects every unborn baby from abortion when Roe v. Wade is overturned. It ensures consistency between Louisiana’s civil and criminal law on abortion. SB 342 also ensures that abortion facilities would be closed on the overturn of Roe v. Wade.
Thanks to action of pro-life citizens, the amendment allowing abortions in cases of rape and incests was defeated. Senator Katrina Jackson expertly led the bill at the Capitol and Representative Julie Emerson skillfully carried the bill on the House Floor and secured House passage.
Since the session ended, President Biden and the White House issued a statement opposing SB 342, adding pressure to Governor Edwards to veto SB 342. Email Governor Edwards today and ask him to sign SB 342 into law!
With the possible overturn of Roe v. Wade, it’s more important than ever for Louisiana to increase its financial support of efforts to provide alternatives to abortion. During this session, Louisiana Right to Life successfully advocated to have an additional $1 Million in State Funding directed to the Alternatives to Abortion Program within the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services. Combined with the current $1.26 Million allocated, Louisiana is now dedicating $2.26 Million to Alternatives to Abortion!
In addition, another $1 Million was allocated through HB 909 and HB 1 to the new “Continuum of Care for Pregnant and Parenting Moms” to provide further telecare resource-based support to pregnant and parenting moms.
HB 274 by Rick Edmonds expands the information required to be provided in adoption awareness instruction for public high school students, including the benefits of adoption to society, the types of adoption available, the difference between foster care and infant adoption, the reasons adoption is preferable to abortion, public and private resources and agencies available to assist in the adoption process, statistical data on abortion, adoption, and childbirth, and public and private resources available for pregnant mothers and parents.
SB 211 by Sen. Jeremy Stine adds a component to the Choose Life License Plate Act that allows pregnancy centers to spend the funds on resources for mothers planning to parent their baby as well as those looking to place their baby for adoption.
SB 104 by Senator Beth Mizell fairly gives women access to their cell phones in abortion facilities. Abortion facilities have been unfairly denying women access to their cell phones for years. Even while waiting in the waiting room for hours, women have no access to communicate with family or friends. This is not right.
Sadly, our Vaccine-Abortion Connection Transparency Act was defeated in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee in a 4-2 vote. Voting against the pro-life bill were Senator Fred Mills (R), Senator Jay Luneau (D), Senator Gary Carter (D), and Senator Gerald Boudreaux (D). Voting for the bill were Senator Beth Mizell (R) and Senator Rogers Pope (R).
HB 640 was a first-of-its-kind bill called the Vaccine-Abortion Connection Transparency Act (HB 640). HB 640 would have required that all vaccines indicate on their packaging and informed consent documents whether they were or were not produced with abortion-derived cells or human embryonic-derived cells. Many pro-life people have learned about the use of abortion-derived cells in the production of certain vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson. This unfortunate reality is a secret about which the vaccine companies do not want the public to know. Although many people found out about the use of abortion-derived cell lines through the COVID-19 vaccine, this practice did not start with Covid-19 vaccines. This has been an issue for years with various vaccines, especially those recommended for children.
While HB 640 will not stop abortion-derived cells from being used in vaccines (it would take a federal law to accomplish that), it would provide information to the public and expose this unethical practice in vaccine production. It is our hope that this bill will lead to other states passing similar laws and then lead to a day when pharmaceutical companies elect not to use abortion-derived cells in the production of their vaccines.
We hope to come back in 2023 to pass this important legislation.
Unfortunately, the Life-Sustaining Care Act was voluntarily tabled in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee due to opposition from insurance companies and hospitals. We look forward to bringing the bill in the future to protect the medically vulnerable.
The Life-Sustaining Act (HB 459 by Rep. Chuck Owen, Rep. Beryl Amedee, and Rep. Dodie Horton) would have protected patients from having life-sustaining care withdrawn or withheld against their will. In the case where a hospital or healthcare facility is not willing to provide life-sustaining care, even if the patient or family of the patient reasonably desires life-sustaining care, the hospital would have been required to permit the transfer of the patient to another willing provider or institution.. The model bill was drafted after a heart-breaking story about a child in the UK. A few years ago in London, a hospital did not permit the parents of baby Charlie Gard to transfer him to another healthcare facility for the purposes of additional treatment that may have saved his life. Sadly, Charlie died in that hospital. HB 459 would ensure that this would never happen in Louisiana.
HB 989 sadly failed in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee after Senator Jay Luneau (D), Senator Gary Carter (D), and Senator Gerald Boudreaux (D) voted against the bill. HB 989 would have given judges further guidance for the situation where a minor is seeking an abortion without the parent’s consent. In some instances, this judicial process is used when the parent expressly says no, but the pregnant minor seeks to go against the parent’s wishes. Many parishes do not have a juvenile court, so this bill would have been very important to give much-needed guidelines for the judge in the maturity determination.
HB 146 by Rep. Chuck Owens would change the law to ensure that certain disabled people (interdicts) cannot be forced to have an abortion against their will. The bill was withdrawn on the House Floor and we intend to improve the bill and bring it back in the future.
While we respect the desires of those seeking IVF, and do not question the dignity of those individuals created through IVF, Louisiana Right to Life opposes the destruction of human embryos and thus opposed aspects of HB 537 that would have required taxpayers and private individuals to fund IVF through tax dollars and insurance premiums.
The modern practice of IVF has led to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of frozen embryos across Louisiana and America. In its original form, HB 537 would have led to more frozen embryos with an uncertain future. If we are funding IVF with the money of our citizens, we should put ethical safeguards in place to reduce excess frozen embryos.
Through Louisiana Right to Life’s advocacy, the funding of IVF was removed from the bill. The bill ended up stalling in the Senate Finance Committee.
Unfortunately, HB 450, the Retroactive Adoptions Record Act, passed over our objection. Since 1977, Louisiana law has made a promise of confidentiality to birth mothers heroically giving life to their babies and placing them for adoption. HB 450 retroactively breaks that promise by releasing original birth certificates. It is a violation of Louisiana’s assurance of confidentiality, and without mutual consent, domestic violence and sexual assault survivors could be forced to reopen a chapter in their lives they decided to close. We are urging Governor John Bel Edwards to veto HB 450.
The Louisiana Heartbeat Act would have strengthened a similar 2019 Louisiana law by using Texas-style civil enforcement mechanisms to protect an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat. Louisiana Right to Life supported the bill. However, since the Supreme Court’s leak in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health was released, the Heartbeat law was not necessary since when Roe v. Wade is overturned all unborn babies would be protected in Louisiana.
HB 813, the Abolition of Abortion Act, created unneeded controversy and was unnecessary to protect babies from abortion in Louisiana. Louisiana already has a trigger law to protect life when Roe v Wade is overturned. It also could criminalized women who choose abortion when our longstanding policy has been to provide criminal penalties on the abortion industry. Read our full statement on HB 813 here.