Louisiana Considering Bill That Would Overrule Roe v. Wade

Louisiana’s Republican-controlled legislature now has a bill before that would, effectively, challenge the entirety of  the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade:

The Louisiana state legislature is considering a bill that would make performing an abortion a criminal offense, including in cases of rape and incest, and that would force a woman to pay out of pocket for an abortion that is necessary to save her life.

State Rep. John LaBruzzo (R), who introduced the bill, told lawmakers in a committee hearing last month that he fully intends for the bill to make its way up through the federal courts and challenge Roe v. Wade — the 1973 Supreme Court decision that barred states from outlawing abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.

“I think we’re going at it piecemeal, trying to get two yards at a time, but we haven’t gotten one first down,” LaBruzzo said. “And I think this bill basically shoots for the end zone.”

The Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which would likely bring a lawsuit against the abortion ban if it passes, called the legislation “a frontal attack” on women’s health and the medical profession.

“It turns doctors into felons,” Marjorie Esman, the executive director of ACLU Louisiana, said in an interview. “It’s an insult to anybody who wants to exercise their right to make their own medical decision, and we’re not going to let the woman of Louisiana be insulted in this way.”

Esman also sharply criticized LaBruzzo’s stated desire to challenge the Supreme Court precedent.

“It’s sort of astonishing that a legislator would take a position that is so hostile to the highest court in the land,” she said. “It’s a very arrogant, hostile statement.”

In addition to banning abortions, the proposed bill would violate the federal Hyde Amendment, which states that while federal money cannot be used to pay for abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment, in those cases Medicaid and other government funds must be provided. LaBruzzo’s abortion ban would not include such exemptions.

The recent trend among the pro-life crowd has been to nibble around the edges of Roe by passing laws that, for example, require women to get a sonogram 24-48 hours before getting an abortion. Some of these laws have, so far, gone unchallenged largely because pro-choice groups have chosen not to do so for fear of unfavorable rulings that could create precedents down the road. A law like this, though, would most assuredly be challenged in court. Whether it will pass the legislature is another question, of course.


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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. hey norm says:

    just another small-government guy trying to grow government right into the uteruses of women everywhere. sad really how confused they are – they really have no idea what is they want, or are about. christians who love ayn rand. fiscal hawks who run up huge debt. the party of nat’l security that let 9.11 happen on their watch, invaded the wrong country, couldn’t finish wars they started, and couldn’t kill OBL.
    riddles wrapped in conundrums and drenched in contradictions.
    romney is really the perfect candidate for this party – because he can cover both sides of every issue…which is the actual republican position.

  2. Neil Hudelson says:

    This should really improve the unemployment/job situation in Louisiana.

  3. legion says:

    Indeed, Neil, it never ceases to amaze me how the poorest of states can still find millions of dollars to fight utterly doomed legal battles about passing whatever laws they want, but not a dime to do anything that actually makes the lives of their own citizens better in any measurable way. Some days I just hate people.

  4. Chad S says:

    Today in “wasting Federal judges’ time”.

  5. Steve says:

    You lame one’s are kidding. If a woman wants to practice choice, should she not do so before conception.? If a majority in a state decide to not to have abortion it is called State’s Rights and the Fed’s shouldn’t get involved.Lastly, Jobs?? Did you say the same about the drilling moratorium from the little tin mullah?

  6. george says:

    You lame one’s are kidding. If a woman wants to practice choice, should she not do so before conception.?

    How does she do that in cases of rape?

  7. George,

    Except of course the pro-life crowd is also anti-contraception by and large

  8. d says:

    the human parasitic fetus has no right to life:


    no human has a right to life or any due process rights by the 14th amendment to use another human’s body or body parts AGAINST their will, civil and constituti­onal rights.

    that’s why you are not force to donate your kidney….the human fetus has no right to life AND it’s not even a person to have due process rights under 14th amendment.

    abortion is birth control, and there’s no reason why not to have one…expect you don’t want one.

    this bill will be rejected

  9. sam says:

    I vote we put d and Steve in large bag and record the fracas.

  10. Southern Hoosier says:

    “It turns doctors into felons,” Marjorie Esman, the executive director of ACLU Louisiana, said in an interview.

    Another liberal lie. Just passing the bill wouldn’t make doctors felons. Doctors would only be felons if they performed an abortion, were arrested, tried and convicted in Louisiana.

    But I have to agree, it is a lost cause.

  11. Jay Tea says:

    It brings up an interesting point, though: Roe v. Wade is an incredibly crappy decision. It’s clear that the authors settled on their conclusion, and then worked backward to find some very thin threads to hang it off the Constitution.

    I’m “squishily pro-choice,” as well as no lawyer, but it has to be one of the worst-argued Supreme Court cases ever.

    In my ideal world, it would be tossed out and the whole matter would revert to the states, with their courts and legislatures. ‘Cuz I don’t see any way it should be considered a federal issue.


  12. Jay Tea says:

    Southern, interesting quote. Sounds a LOT like Debbie Wasserman-Shultz commenting on how the Republicans want to make being an illegal alien illegal.

    I gotta give this woman the “well, duh” award. “If we change the law and make something illegal, then the people who do this will be breaking the law!” Talk about self-evident…