By Richard Meek

The Catholic Commentator

Louisiana voters’ overwhelming endorsement of the Love Life Amendment was a statement that the majority of residents recognize the value of human life, according to the leading pro-life official in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

The amendment, which  ensures that state judges cannot use the state constitution to hold sacred a right to abortion or the taxpayer funding of abortion in Louisiana and keeps the issue of abortion in the hands of the people through  elected legislators rather than the courts, garnered more than 60 percent of voters’ support during the Nov. 3 election.

“I feel like it was bipartisan support and that reflects the whole trajectory of the amendment as we watched it pass through the legislature,” said Danielle Van Haute, Respect Life Director  for the Diocese of Baton Rouge. “The number of votes in support was reflective of not just one political party.”

Van Haute said the amendment reflects that any decision made, or any laws passed regarding human life and the dignity of the person do not belong in the hands of judges. In fact, she said if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, the amendment prevents any judiciary decisions that may undermine laws that are already in effect.

“Anything that happens pertaining to laws regarding abortion needs to happen with legislation, so judges are not going to be able to make decisions,” Van Haute said.

Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Ben Clapper said voters showed their love for mothers and babies.

“We the people, through our legislators, can pass laws defending life without the intervention of judges,” Clapper said. “We encourage other states to pass their own version of the Love Life Amendment. For too long, activist judges around the nation have usurped the power of state legislatures and declared a right to abortion-on-demand.”

Although the landslide reinforced Louisiana’s reputation as one of the country’s leading pro-life states, Van Haute noted that abortion remains legal, and encouraged pro-life supporters to continue their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.

“One of the primary aspects from the church’s perspective is that we continue to educate and evangelize within the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person,” Van Haute said. “And then we seek to model that as we live our lives and bring that out into society.

“And also engage with society and find opportunities to speak about the life issues but  we can’t divorce that conversation from the larger conversation of God and Christ.”

Van Haute was also thrilled with success of the recent 40 Days for Life campaign. She said there were at least 16 mothers who chose life and change their original intention to abort their unborn child.

“It’s a good number; any number is great,” she said. “We also realize that we’ll never know the full impact that all of those prayers and sacrifices made this side of heaven.”

She said more than 1,000 people representing more than 40 groups participated. She said those numbers were encouraging because of the uncertainty regarding the coronavirus pandemic and its restrictions.

“During 40 Days we are called to go out and to pray and to sacrifice,” she said. “At the end of the 40 days we can know we were faithful in fulfilling that goal.”

“It’s always a great consolation to be able to know that 16 women chose life but ultimately there is no way to calculate the blessings and graces that have come from 40 Days,” Van Haute said.