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Gov. Edwards opposes abortion bill that would charge women with murder

Gov. Edwards, a pro-life democrat, called the bill "problematic" and "patently unconstitutional" while speaking at a rotary club meeting Wednesday.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he is against an anti-abortion bill that would make it so women who receive abortions could be charged with murder.

Gov. Edwards, a pro-life Democrat, called the bill "problematic" and "patently unconstitutional" while speaking at a rotary club meeting Wednesday.

The bill, HB813, also known as the "Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022," would redefine a "person" as "a human being from the moment of fertilization."

That would extend homicide laws to the unborn, meaning a woman who had an abortion could be charged with murder. A spokesperson for Edwards' office said the bill could also criminalize various forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Louisiana.

The bill's author, Rep. Danny McCormick (R- Oil City), said that the bill would disregard the Supreme Court's Ruling on Roe v. Wade, whether it's overturned or not.

"We cannot wait on the Supreme Court to confirm that innocent babies have a right to life in Louisiana,” McCormick said. 

The bill is one of several pieces anti-abortion being filed nationwide after a draft US Supreme Court opinion was leaked suggesting that the court is poised to overturn Roe. v Wade and push abortion rights to the state level.

Multiple prominent pro-life groups have come out against the bill, including "Louisiana Right to Life." Angie Thomas with the group does not support abortions and is a pro-life supporter, but she doesn't believe women who have abortions should be treated as criminals. 

"We have a long-standing policy of protecting both mothers and children, we want to love them both," she said. 

Louisiana Right to Life wants to instead hold accountable those who perform abortions or sell chemical abortion drugs while informing women of resources.

"Hopefully we can make sure women don't have to choose abortion and that they can be supported," Thomas said. 

The bill is set to be debated on the house floor Thursday, May 12.

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