SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Access to abortion in Louisiana is vulnerable to becoming even more limited after voters approved a statewide ballot measure Tuesday that will amend the state’s constitution to say Louisiana does not recognize a right to abortion or a right to government-funded abortion.
Opponents of the measure, which passed by a vote of 62% in favor and 38% against, say it’s misleading because the state does not offer government-funded abortions now.
“The passage of Amendment One shows us just how morally bankrupt our legislators are,” said A.J. Haynes, who is a patient advocate at Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport.
Hope provides access to early-stage abortions. Administrator Kathaleen Pittman said the three clinics operating in Louisiana do not receive funding from the government, so it’s political hype. She said the law may have not passed if voters knew women who were raped or a victim of incest would be forced to continue the pregnancy.
“What’s inconceivable is that Louisiana already has a high maternal mortality rate, so it’s much more dangerous to continue a pregnancy in Louisiana that to not continue a pregnancy and that is one thing they’re not telling anybody,” Pittman said.
One thing both opponents of the amendment agree on is that abortion will become illegal in Louisiana if the Supreme Court ever reverses Roe v. Wade
State Sen. Katrina Jackson, a Democrat from Monroe, authored the legislation to put the amendment on the ballot and she says she is proud voters approved it.
“Louisiana will never be able to say whether abortion is legal or not. My district overwhelming passed it,” Jackson said.
The Executive Director for Louisiana Right to Life Benjamin Clapper also reacted to the passage, saying, “Our citizens have mandated that state judges can never use our constitution to enshrine abortion or the taxpayer funding of abortion in Louisiana.”
Back at Hope Medical Group, A.J. Haynes sees it all as a waste of resources.
“In a time where our state has lost so much revenue, why are legislators, why are politicians spending millions of dollars pushing this legislation instead of spending it on our communities?”