Louisiana voters have just passed an amendment to the state constitution to clarify that nothing in it protects the right to abortion in the state. Given the current makeup of the courts, and, notably, a new anti-choice justice on the Supreme Court, it is a clear step toward preparing for Roe v. Wade to be overturned, which would make abortion access a state issue rather than a federal one. If that happens, Louisiana, it seems, wants to waste no time in banning it.
As such, the following language will be added into Louisiana’s constitution: “To protect human life, nothing in this constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” Three states—Tennessee, Alabama, and West Virginia—have similar constitutional language.
Only three abortion clinics remain in Louisiana, and, as of 2018, the state had the third-highest poverty rate in the nation—20 percent of its residents live below the poverty line, which makes them much more likely to need access to abortion services. Just this summer, Louisiana was involved in a closely watched Supreme Court case over abortion burdensome abortion restrictions, June Medical Services v. Russo, in which the court ultimately upheld precedent and the status quo was preserved for the time being.