Legislative Session Wraps Up; Signs of Hope Passes!
Session ends four-year term with important 2011 state elections on the horizon
24 June 2011
Yesterday at 6 PM, the State Legislative session
came to an end, and with it, the four-year term of all elected officials in the state (officially ends in January). Many of those in the legislature are term-limited, and in November, the entire State Legislature will be up for re-election.
Even though there have been obstacles, the 2008-2011 term has been very positive for the pro-life movement in Louisiana.
Here is a quick listing of the 9 major pro-life laws
we have spearheaded in these four years:
- Signs of Hope Act (2011)
- Ultrasound Before Abortion Act (2010)
- Abortion Facility Closure Ability Act (2010)
- Obamacare Abortion Opt-Out Act (2010)
- Health Care Rights of Conscience Act (2009)
- Human-Animal Hybrid Ban Act (2009)
- Choose Life License Plate Re-Authorization Act (2009)
- Cord Blood Donation Education Act (2008)
- Ban on Funding of Human Cloning Act (2008)
Not bad! However, one abortion is too many, and we will continue to work to ensure that all innocent human beings are protected under law.
Here is a debriefing from the 2011 session:
HB 636: Signs of Hope Act
On Tuesday evening, HB 636, the "Signs of Hope Act", passed its final legislative hurdle and officially heads to Governor Jindal's desk for his signature!
On Monday evening, we were fortunate to hold a small gathering in the Governor's Mansion with the Governor to celebrate the passage of the Signs of Hope Act (two photos at right). Governor Jindal spoke to the group on the importance of pro-life legislation, and signed a proclamation heralding the Signs of Hope Act.
Learn more about the Signs of Hope Act at our website.
The legislation provides 120 days for implementation of the signs, the website, and the redesign of the abortion alternatives pamphlet. We are already working with the Jindal administration to ensure timely and effective action!
Thanks to Representative Frank Hoffman for courageously carrying the bill, Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund
for her legal expertise, and Governor Jindal and his staff for vigorously supporting the legislation!
HCR 54: Urging Congress to Defund Planned Parenthood
Unfortunately, HCR 54, the resolution urging Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, was scuttled into the Senate Finance committee late last week, never to see the light of day. Senate President Joel Chaisson (Destrehan) allowed pro-abortion members of the Senate to make this move, without pro-life Senators or groups knowing this was happening, even though resolutions never have a fiscal impact. Planned Parenthood advocates knew the only way they could defeat the resolution was play legislative games instead of facing a fair hearing before the Senate.
While this is a disappointment, HCR 54 was only a resolution and had no force of law.
This resolution was the step in the process of combating Planned Parenthood in Louisiana, whose two facilities (New Orleans and Baton Rouge) receive together approximately $1 Million in Medicaid funds (90% from federal government). Currently, neither of these Planned Parenthood facilities perform abortions, making our situation legally unique from states such as Indiana and North Carolina that have recently defunded Planned Parenthood. However, as Indiana heads to court on their defunding legislation, we are watching and investigating to see what else can be done here.
HB 645: Rep. Labruzzo's Abortion Ban
While our legislative priority was the Signs of Hope Act, the legislation that garnered most of the media's attention was HB 645, Rep. John Labruzzo's proposed abortion ban. Due to Medicaid funding concerns, the House moved HB 645 to the Appropriations Committee late in the session and was not brought up for consideration again due to the time constraints. While we did express serious concerns to Rep. Labruzzo about how HB 645 repealed existing pro-life laws in order to achieve its goal, we did collaborate with Rep. Labruzzo to find legislative language to avoid the move to the appropriations committee. However, the procedure of the House and the time constraints of the session won the day.
We thank Rep. Labruzzo for his strong commitment to the defense of unborn human life.
SB 155: Destroying Confidential Adoption
We strongly opposed SB 155, Sen. Martiny's efforts to open confidential adoption records after 24 years. We worked closely with St. Elizabeth's Adoption Foundation and the Catholic Conference to defeat this legislation by a vote of 15-21.
While we respect and acknowledge the desire of adoptees to learn more about their origin, we believe that confidential adoption must remain confidential in order to be a viable option juxtaposed to abortion. We should not have a system where the only way a birth mother or father
can be assured of permanent confidentiality is abortion.
We have indicated to Senator Martiny, a good friend of Louisiana Right to Life, and the advocates of the legislation that we want to partner with them to improve the adoption registry to ensure birth mothers and adoptees can be reconnected if both parties consent. HB 379: Protecting Unborn Human Remains
While we did not bring this legislation forward, we did work with Rep. Hardy to improve his legislation that aimed to protect the remains of unborn children that either die through natural causes, such as miscarriage, or are destroyed through abortion. Unborn children should not be treated as medical waste!
There were a number of legislative issues with HB 379, and it was deferred by the House Health and Welfare Committee. We appreciate Rep. Hardy's concerns for unborn children, and we hope to come back in coming session with a more effective legislative instrument.
Overall, we are pleased with the success of the legislative session. We are excited about the impact the Signs of Hope Act could have in the lives of women and babies in our state
. We are looking forward to a busy election season, and we hope to seat an even more pro-life legislature when we head back to the Capitol next year!
For a Pro-Life Louisiana,
Louisiana Right to Life
P.S. While it may not seem like it from the outside, a ton of work goes into preparing and lobbying at the legislative session. It is essential for us to continue to have this daily presence at the Capitol to defend life. Please support Louisiana Right to Life's legislative efforts!