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La. Legislature Might Not Consider 'Personhood' Measure Amid Constitutional Concerns

La. Legislature Might Not Consider 'Personhood' Measure Amid Constitutional Concerns

May 5, 2015 — Amid constitutional concerns, the Louisiana Legislature might not consider a bill (SB 80) that would authorize a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to define life as beginning at conception, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

The "personhood" measure, sponsored by state Sen. Elbert Guillory (R), effectively would ban abortion at any point of gestation. It would require approval from two-thirds of the state Legislature to appear on the ballot for the Oct. 24 statewide election.

Potential Constitutional Issues

Guillory on Friday said several antiabortion-rights groups "indicated [that] some constitutional issues exist."

For example, Louisiana Family Forum President Gene Mills said his group does not support the current bill because it has doubts about its "counsel's ability to defend [the measure] in a court of law." He added that the Louisiana Right to Life Federation also opposes the bill in its current form.

Guillory said he was working with the two antiabortion-rights groups and others to potentially "tweak" the measure if it requires only minor fixes. However, he said he would "go back to the drawing board" and pull the bill from consideration during the 2015 state legislative session if it requires more substantive changes (Lane, New Orleans Times-Picayune, 5/1).