Just days ago Louisiana lawmakers advanced a historic bill that would not only criminalize abortion but classify it as a homicide. HB813, or the “Abolition of Abortion in Louisiana Act of 2022″ was voted by a committee 7-2 to give it a vote in the House of Representatives. This was historic, as it was the first true abolition bill to pass committee in any state in the nation so far.
The Governor, Attorney General, and the vast majority of legislators in the state claim to be pro-life, with the Republicans outnumbering the Democrats 2-1 in both the House and the Senate. Lifelist ranks Louisiana as the second most ‘pro-life state’ in the nation. According to witnesses, nearly 200 abortion abolitionists were present in support of the bill, with less than 8 for the pro-choice side.
Despite this, the bill was defeated after an amendment was adopted that absolutely gutted the bill and rendered it useless and toothless. Pro-life State Rep. Alan Seabaugh, who supported HB813 as originally written in the committee hearing, filed the amendment to destroy it. The final tally was 65 voting in favor of gutting the bill and 26 against, prompting the bill’s author, Rep. Danny McCormick, to pull it from consideration.
How is it that politicians who were championing it were now voting against it? They’d been getting pressure all week from pro-life groups, but the bill’s fate was sealed when earlier in the day, over 70 ‘pro-life groups’ like National Right to Life and their state subsidiaries, along with the ERLC, released an open letter opposing the bill, disparaging it for going too far in its efforts to abolish abortion. They were ideologically joined with far-left women’s rights groups and Planned Parenthood, the apex predator of the baby-killing world, who also opposed the bill and declared unequivocally that they could not support it. Planned Parenthood was pressuring its supporters to defeat the bill and The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission was doing the exact same thing, both pushing from different sides to attain the same goal.
Because it amended the Louisiana homicide codes to define “unborn child” as “an individual human being from fertilization until birth,” and “person” as “a human being from the moment of fertilization.” These redefinitions would classify abortion as homicide by including preborn children among those protected by the laws against murder, and therefore women who kill their babies in the womb would be subject to the same fines and punishments as those who kill their babies out of the womb. Equal protection under the law. Equal justice. Either it’s a baby, or it’s not.
The authors of the bill reasoned that you can’t decry this act as the “murder” of an innocent baby, and then have absolutely zero consequences for those who indulge. They assert you can’t give a baby in the womb the same rights as a baby out of the womb would have, and then just shrug your shoulders when someone melts them in a chemical bath or dismembers them and turns them into a chopped up slurry of blood and brains.
But the ERLC and 69 other groups said you could. They explained in the letter while it’s true that babies are victims of abortion, so are the mothers as well, and it would not be fair to the mothers to enact consequences upon them for their actions, writing:
“…Abortion has taken the lives of more than 63 million unborn American children. But the tragedy of abortion isn’t limited to the unborn child who loses her life. The mother who aborts her child is also Roe’s victim….
Women are victims of abortion and require our compassion and support as well as ready access to counseling and social services in the days, weeks, months, and years following an abortion.
As national and state pro-life organizations, representing tens of millions of pro-life men, women, and children across the country, let us be clear: We state unequivocally that any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women is not pro-life and we stand firmly opposed to such efforts.
…we must ensure that the laws we advance to protect unborn children DO NOT HARM THEIR MOTHERS…turning women who have abortions into criminals IS NOT THE WAY. (Capitalized emphasis theirs)
We will continue to oppose legislative and policy initiatives that criminalize women who seek abortions, and we will continue to work for initiatives that protect unborn children and policies that provide and strengthen life-affirming resources for abortion-vulnerable women.
In short: it’s not really murder, and it’s not right to punish the mothers when they’re not really killing human beings.
This is particularly egregious on the part of Brent Leatherwood, the acting head of the ERLC, given that it expressly goes against the will of Southern Baptist messengers, who passed a resolution at SBC21 which explicitly states: “we affirm that the murder of preborn children is a crime against humanity that must be punished equally under the law.”
We reached out to SBC Presidential candidate Tom Ascol for comment, given that the ERLC is their lobbying arm, and he decried their actions, writing:
I find this letter a tragic betrayal of the most vulnerable people among us—unborn babies. How can an organization be genuinely pro-life if it argues against the criminalization of murdering human life? How can an organization be Christian if it regards those who murder those who bear the image of God as “victims”? That the ERLC of the SBC has joined this group of organizations is issuing this morally flawed letter is appalling and an affront to cooperating SBC churches and further proof that It is time to change the direction of the SBC.