By Will Hall, Message Editor
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – The Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board voted unanimously May 7 to pass a resolution to “support the ‘Love Life’ state constitution amendment that stipulates there is no provision in the Louisiana Constitution that establishes a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion.”
The 86 members of the Executive Board act “ad interim” for the Convention when messengers are not assembled to conduct business as a Convention.
Two lawmakers are leading the statehouse effort to pass H.B.425 in their respective chambers: Rep. Katrina Jackson (DMonroe) and Sen. Beth Mizell (R-Franklinton).
Mizell is a member of the First Baptist Church in Franklinton.
They have explained that the amendment does not conflict with rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, nor does it change any legal precedent or regulation now in place in the state. Instead, they have testified that it ensures no state judge can interpret a protection for abortion in the Louisiana Constitution that is not explicitly stated.
The actual language they proposed adding to the Constitution reads “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”
The measure already passed the House by a vote of 81-10 with 14 absences and is pending a vote in the Senate. It will need two-thirds approval in the Senate and a procedural concurrent vote in the House (due to some explanatory language added to the legislation) in order to place the amendment on the fall ballot for approval by a simple majority of Louisiana voters.
The need for the “Love Life Amendment” has been demonstrated by judicial action in 13 other states where judges in their highest courts found an inherent right to abortion in their respective constitutions.
In April the Kansas Supreme Court became the latest to make such a ruling.
By a vote of 6-1 that court said the first sentence in the Kansas Bill of Rights, “All men are possessed of equal and inalienable natural rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” extends to the decision of whether to have an abortion.
The Louisiana Baptist Office of Public Policy is planning an informational campaign to help pastors inform their congregations about the issues and to energize members about the vote this fall.
For information and resources contact policy@ louisianabaptists.org.