Anger as Louisiana Abortion Bill Could See Women Charged With Murder

The bill advanced by Louisiana lawmakers on Thursday that would abolish abortion in the state and classify it as murder has sparked anger and outrage among opponents, who have taken to social media to criticize the new proposed legislation.

Some supporters, however, said they were overjoyed at the prospect.

"Welcome to 1940, ladies. Where bodily autonomy and healthcare is criminal homicide," wrote author and opponent of the bill Jamie Schler on Twitter. Others went even further in time, comparing the proposal to "living in the Old Testament."

Under the new proposed bill, called House Bill 813, abortion will be considered as homicide from fertilization and conception. The legislators' professed aim is to "ensure the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all unborn children from the moment of fertilization by protecting them by the same laws protecting other human beings."

Any abortion would then see both the doctor or those assisting and the person who had the abortion charged with murder.

Opponents of the bill have raised concerns that the law will also impact in vitro fertilization (IVF), forms of contraceptives like intrauterine birth control devices (IUDs) and emergency contraception.

"I am literally crying, this is so scary," said a user mentioning the ripple effects of the bill on Twitter.

"So will they advance a bill in which a man who masturbates can be charged with involuntary manslaughter?," wrote actor Ken Olin.

Many criticized Republican lawmakers for being swift at curbing women's rights, but failing to put an equal effort into passing other, urgent laws such as improving child support and health services. Some mentioned the contradiction in a proposed law that protects unborn life while condemning anyone seeking abortion or assisting someone getting one to death or life imprisonment.

The bill has the potential to criminalize miscarriages too.

"Half of us will suffer a miscarriage at some point in our lives. The Republican Party is essentially criminalizing womanhood," wrote a Twitter user.

"Burning at the stake can't be far behind," commented another.

The words "insane" and "unreal" can be found over and over in the comments of people reacting to the news, despite the fact that many don't seem surprised after discovering only a few days ago that the Supreme Court is prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In a statement, Chris Kaiser, advocacy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, called the proposed bill "barbaric," saying it "would subject people to murder prosecutions, punishable by life without parole, for having abortions."

Social media sites were flooded with the real-life stories of women who've had abortions, for many different reasons, and would be punished as murderers with this bill in place.

"My friend's cousin who lives in Louisiana just had an abortion at 20 weeks after finding out her baby had anencephaly. This law would make her a murderer and force her to take to term a baby having no brain activity. A baby who would have no chance for life. This is so f*****," said a Twitter user.

As in any other debate, there is another side to the story.

A smaller group of people online vocally supported the bill, with anti-abortion Twitter users calling themselves "overwhelmed with joy" at the news of the Louisiana law and defending anti-abortion stances as they expressed the opinion that even a fetus without a developed brain is a human "entitled to all human rights."

The proposed bill has so far been approved in a seven-to-two committee vote, but it still has to go through the full House of Representatives for further consideration. The passing of the bill suggests some conservative Republicans could be feeling encouraged by the leaked draft opinion showing a majority of the Supreme Court could be in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal across the U.S.

"We can't wait on the Supreme Court," said Representative Danny McCormick, who authored the bill.

Louisiana is one of 13 states where abortion would immediately be banned if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade. The others are Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Wyoming.

Louisiana has a trigger ban against abortion that would immediately come into place if abortion rights are no longer recognized as constitutional. Its state constitution also bars protection for abortion rights.

Abortion-rights activists protest Louisiana Roe
Abortion-rights activists chant in front of un-scalable fence that stands around the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, on May 5, 2022. Abortion-rights activists have harshly criticized the bill passed by Louisiana Republican lawmakers which would classify abortion as homicide. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images