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"Now that Roe's about to fall," said one critic, Republicans are "racing to authorize the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of abortion patients for murder." (Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images))

Louisiana GOP Advances Bill to Make Abortion a Homicide by Patient and Provider

"When abortion is outlawed, every uterus becomes a potential crime scene."

Andrea Germanos

Louisiana Republicans on Wednesday advanced legislation that criminalizes abortion as homicide, allowing for the prosecution of both the pregnant person and those who assist them.

Introduced in March by Rep. Danny McCormick (R-Oil City), House Bill 813 advanced out of committee in a 7-2 vote Wednesday, just days after a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion revealed the court's right-wing majority is on the cusp of striking down Roe v. Wade

Amid a nationwide wave that includes hundreds of state-level attacks on reproductive rights, HB 813 now heads to the full House in Louisiana.

McCormick's measure, which would give personhood to a fertilized egg, states that its provision should be enforced "without regard to the opinions and judgments of the Supreme Court of the United States in Roe" or that decision's "judicial progeny, past and future." It would additionally make any state judge who fails to enforce any of the provisions subject to impeachment or removal. It could also criminalize patients undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

"This is a bill to immediately end abortion in the state of Louisiana. No compromises, no more waiting," said Baptist Pastor Brian Gunter, whom McCormick said helped author the bill.

In a Twitter thread sharing reporting on the proposal, Slate senior writer Mark Joseph Stern drew attention to HB 813's criminalization of pregnant people.

"Republicans told us for years that they would never punish women who get abortions," wrote Stern. "Now that Roe's about to fall, they're racing to authorize the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of abortion patients for murder."

"When abortion is outlawed," he added, "every uterus becomes a potential crime scene."

Louisiana is among the states with a so-called trigger law that would ban abortions should Roe fall, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

McCormick, for his part, is also the owner of M & M Oil Company and whose other legislative acts this year have included fighting against incentives for wind and solar projects and proposing justification for shooting of protesters in some instances.

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