To quote Solicitor General Liz Murrill, there’s been a lot of “paint thrown at the wall” to challenge Louisiana’s Human Life Protection Act (Act 545 of 2022), which protects babies from abortion after the reversal of Roe v. Wade. I was a proud co-author of the bill and carried it on the House floor for Sen. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe. Importantly, every female state senator and a majority of the female members of the House of Representatives voted in support of Act 545. Elective abortion is not health care, and unborn babies deserve a chance at life just like you and me.
Abortion advocates are conjuring up every possible misinterpretation of our law and hoping something sticks. Act 545 is incredibly thorough, and contrary to the current public narrative, it does not put good physicians in jeopardy or a woman’s ability to access contraception at risk. In fact, it explicitly protects these concerns. A line-by-line reading of the law gives us some important definitions to keep in mind, with the first being of abortion. It defines abortion as an act that intentionally and knowingly ends a pregnancy and takes the life of an unborn child.
The law then tells us what abortion is not: treatment for ectopic pregnancy, handling a miscarriage, or taking action necessary “to prevent the death or substantial risk of death to the pregnant woman.” In other words, physicians can make reasonable medical efforts in good faith judgment to save a woman’s life in serious medical emergencies.
These definitions and exclusions protect the medical community from fear that somehow our law will prosecute doctors caring for pregnant women. Under no circumstances does Act 545 prohibit physicians from exercising their medical expertise for maternal patients. Additionally, many in the medical community agree with the pro-life ethic of our state that physicians should strive to save both the life of the mother and the unborn child when possible.
Another unfortunate myth circulating about Act 545 is that it prohibits a woman’s ability to access contraception or emergency contraception. This is blatantly false. On page five of the act, it states: “Abortion-inducing drug shall not mean a contraceptive, an emergency contraceptive, or the use of methotrexate to treat an ectopic pregnancy.”
We wrote Act 545 after thoughtful deliberation to protect unborn life, mothers, and good-faith physicians. The law and the intent are clear. These false narratives that are being spread are just to cause confusion and delay the enactment of the law and will of the people of Louisiana. I trust in time our pro-life laws will be vindicated despite all the turbulence.
Julie Emerson is a Republican state representative from Carencro.