Louisiana voters approved a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that declares there is no right to abortion or its funding in the state constitution.
Amendment 1 – affectionately called the “Love Life Amendment” by its supporters – was approved by a vote of 62%.
The amendment will add one sentence to the Louisiana Declaration of Rights:
“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 amendment does not enact any immediate changes to Louisiana abortion law.
Louisiana law currently prohibits abortion after 20 weeks gestation except in cases of life or health endangerment to the mother and public funding of abortion is limited to cases of life endangerment, and rape and incest.
In 2006, Louisiana enacted the Human Life Protection Act, a “trigger law” which would prohibit abortion in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade has been a topic of discussion based on cases soon to come before the Supreme Court and the recent appointment of constitutional originalist Amy Coney Barrett.
If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned, Louisiana’s trigger law and this new constitutional amendment would act together to prohibit abortion at all stages of pregnancy except for cases in which a mother’s life or health are at risk.
“What has changed today is the doors of the Supreme Court in the state are no longer open to abortion advocates who want Supreme Court justices to declare a right to abortion or even invalidate common sense laws like ultrasounds or parental consent before abortion,” said Louisiana Right to Life’s Ben Clapper.
Pro-choice advocate Michelle Ekenberg said, “Abortion is still legal. People can still get abortions. However, we do think this amendment will have some significant impact on the ability for advocates to expand access to abortion or to add protections, legal protections to people trying to access abortion.”
Louisiana is the fourth state to add a “no right to abortion” constitutional amendment, alongside Alabama, Tennessee, and West Virginia.