New Orleans Lawmaker Files Bill Seeking Exceptions for Abortions as Survey Shows Changing Stance on Issue in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, La. (KPEL News) - Louisiana's stance on abortion continues to change.
At least that's according to a recent poll conducted by JMC Analytics. John Couvillon's poll shows 53% of Louisianans support a constitutional amendment to establish the right to an abortion in the Bayou State. And this shift from pro-life to pro-choice comes as New Orleans Representative Delisha Boyd files a bill that would add rape and incest as exceptions to the state's abortion ban.
In the summer of 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, which allowed Louisiana's anti-abortion trigger laws to go into effect, banning the practice in the Louisiana.
Where did Louisianans Stand on Abortion in 2022?
As the High Court was getting ready to hand down the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, poll results highlighted by our friends at Louisiana Radio Network showed the percentage of Louisiana residents who supported abortion and believed it should be legal had grown over the previous six years. In a similar study in 2016, 40% of polled residents supported abortion. In the 2022 survey, 46% supported the practice.
Conversely, the percentage of Louisiana residents against abortion had gone down as well. In 2016, 55% of polled participants were against the practice. In the 2022 survey, 49% were against abortion.
And, no surprise here, but political party affiliation played a big part in people's opinions on abortion. Republicans stayed steady with much opposition to abortion but Democrats who supported abortion as a legal practice rose 23% over the previous six years - from 51% in 2016 to 74% in 2022.
Where Do Louisianans Stand on Exceptions to Abortion in 2023?
Fast forward to 2023 and polling conducted at the beginning of April seems to show that continuing shift as 49% identify as pro-choice compared to 44% as pro-life. So, why the shift? Here's what Couvillion had to say to our news partners at Louisiana Radio Network:
After the Dobbs decision overturned Roe v Wade - and you’re faced with the prospect of Draconian laws - I think that has changed some people’s opinions about if they truly are pro-life or pro-choice, or do they favor some level of exceptions.
The most telling state of Louisiana's changing stance on abortion: support for it hit 70% or higher when exceptions were made to protect the patient's health and for rape and incest. That includes "a statically significant number of Republicans who are supporting these exceptions," says Couvillion.
Before we dig deeper into the proposed bill that would make exceptions for rape and incest, here are a few facts about the JMC Analytics poll:
- Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) Advocates, National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana, and the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom (LCRF) commissioned the survey of 1,000 individuals.
- Of the individuals surveyed, 38% were Republican, 39% Democratic, and 23% Independent.
- The poll was conducted April 3-6, 2023.
New Orleans Lawmaker Files Bill Seeking Rape and Incest Exceptions for Abortions
Since Louisiana's trigger laws went into effect last year, there have been young girls going out of state for abortions and women with ectopic pregnancies whose physicians would not end their pregnancies. That's according to Rep. Boyd, who told LRN that this needs to stop.
We can’t expect a nine-year-old who might be raped to carry a child to term. The trauma to the body for an adult is a lot to deal with let alone a nine-year-old who might be all of 50 pounds soaking wet.
This is personal for Boyd, whose mother was only 15-years-old when she gave birth while Boyd's father was 28-years-old at the time. She cites mental and physical concern of a victimized female giving birth before they've matured.
Louisiana Right to Life Says Unborn Child "Shouldn't be Given the Death Penalty"
Sarah Zagorski, spokesperson for Louisiana Right to Life, says how the baby is conceived should have no bearing on if he/she should live or die and points to abortion only further traumatizing women in her opposition to Rep. Boyd's bill.
That unborn child shouldn’t be given the death penalty because they were conceived in a violent act," says Zagorski to LRN. "They’re not responsible for the crimes of their father...There are many, many studies - medical studies - about that and we believe that a young girl who’s experienced the trauma of rape shouldn’t also then be traumatized by the brutality of an abortion...We just think this is a step back for Louisiana if these bills were to move forward.
Those two bills - House Bill 346 proposed by Rep. Boyd and House Bill 549 proposed by former Shreveport Mayor/current state representative Cedric Glover - both propose that the provisions of the proposed law will not require any of the following:
- A police or investigatory report.
- Forensic evidence provided by the pregnant female.
- A prosecution of the alleged offense.
The Louisiana Legislative Session began on April 10 and runs through June 8.