The Catholic Commentator 

The voice of the unborn reached the ears of Louisiana legislators on April 4, when the House Health and Welfare Committee approved four abortion-related bills, say pro-life advocates, who hosted a Pro-Life Day at the Capitol to lobby legislators.

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Youth who have participated in the Louisiana Right to Life’s PULSE pro-life leadership training program were among the people lobbying for the passage of abortion-related bills at Pro-Life Day at the Capital on April 4. Photo by Debbie Shelley | The Catholic Commentator

 

Three of the bills (House bills 287, 273 and 338) clarify three similar laws that have been tied up in a federal court battle since they were first approved during the 2016 legislative session.  

HB 338 narrowed the language of a bill, which restricted abortion facilities from receiving public funding.

HB 273 clarified the language of a law that requires providers of an abortion to make sure that the remains of the child are disposed by burial or cremation. 

HB 287 clarified the language of the law requiring abortion providers in Louisiana to provide pregnant women who have received a diagnosis of fetal genetic abnormality an informational document that discusses alternatives to abortion and includes information on resources, programs and services for infants and children born with disabilities. 

The “featured bill” of the day was HB 449, the Adoption Option Act, which proposes the Louisiana Department of Health offer information about adoption from agencies not affiliated with an abortion provider as an alternative to abortion on its website, along with easily comprehensible first steps to aid pregnant women seeking to confidentially explore the option of placing her child for adoption, and indicating whether the adoption agency allows the woman to choose the adoptive parents. The website would be accessible by redirecting from the domain name Adoption
Option.La.Gov.

Under present law, the Louisiana Department of Health must provide printed materials which abortion providers are required to give to a woman prior to an abortion in order for consent to the abortion to be deemed voluntary. HB 449 further requires the materials include the adoption-related information provided on the abortion alternatives and informed consent website. 

A governor’s task force would assist LDH in the preparation of the printed and website materials and develop public education initiatives to publicize such information on abortion alternatives.

Pro-life Day at the Capitol activities included a closed “leadership lunch” for leaders of pro-life pregnancy centers and agencies. Gov. John Bel Edwards addressed the group. >

A closed meeting was also held with Attorney General Jeff Landry for an update on a state law that bans dismemberment abortions. The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of several abortion providers challenging some of the abortion restrictions.

A “birthday cake” was also distributed to legislators and others at the Capitol rotunda. 

Among the voices around the rotunda were youth who have participated in the PULSE pro-life leadership program. 

“It feels really good to use my experiences to start conversations that help women know that there are other options to abortion,” said Sarah Massey, of Houma.

Massey, who is homeschooled, said she has her own story to share about the beauty of adoption, because her family adopted her brother out of the foster care system and she cannot imagine her life without him. 

T.J. Burgess, a student at Brother Martin High School in New Orleans, said he was intrigued by the idea of coming to see the legislative process in action. 

“It’s your reasonability to better represent the people,” said Burgess, noting that the people of Louisiana have clearly stated that they are pro-life.

Danielle MacNamara, a senior at Central Private High School, said her life experiences have been pro-life and it was “pretty cool” to be talking to and walking with other pro-life leaders as well as lawmakers.

MacNamara said she encountered members of LSU-Pro-Life and has plans to join them when going to college.

She was also excited about the governor’s luncheon with pro-life leaders.

“I’m ready to visit with the people and will enjoy hearing the people talking about adoption,” MacNamara said.

Kamie Sanchez and Clelie Carpenter of Baton Rouge Right to Life were grinning widely at support they were receiving in the mission.

“What happened today is a joyful celebration of life,” said Carpenter. “It’s a pro-life atmosphere.”

She and Sanchez said they were blessed to have the support of the attorney general and other pro-life legislators support.