Louisiana's Abortion Law Gets Light Attention, Perhaps Due to Its 'Overwhelming' Democratic Support

August 12th, 2014 11:52 PM

So what's more newsworthy: A white, privileged, female lawyer wearing pink shoes whose filibuster failed to stop abortion restrictions from taking effect in Texas, or a an African-American female state representative who sponsored and helped successfully shepherd a similar law through Louisiana's legislature — with overwhelming support from Democratic legislators? If you think it should be the latter, you obviously don't understand the priorities of the nation's establishment press.

The events in Texas have led to the gubernatorial candidacy of Democrat filibuster leader and media darling Wendy Davis. In June of this year, the legislature in next-door Louisiana passed a similar measure. Katrina Jackson's outspoken sponsorship and Democrats' majority support of the law has gotten nowhere near the attention Wendy Davis's shenanigans have received.

As summarized at Life News, the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act "requires abortionists to attain admitting privileges within 30 miles of their facility, clarifies that the 'Women’s Right to Know' law applies to chemical, as well as surgical abortions, and requires doctors who perform more than five abortions a year to maintain proper licensing."

AP reporter Melinda DeSlatte's writeup in June, when Louisiana's law achieved final passage, presented its victory margin as some kind of totally expected result, when it was instead extraordinarily unusual:

New restrictions planned for La. abortion clinics


Doctors who perform abortions in Louisiana will be required to have the ability to admit patients to a nearby hospital, a restriction that abortion-rights groups say will shutter three of the state’s five clinics.

With no debate Wednesday, the House voted 88-5 to send House Bill 388 by state Rep. Katrina Jackson to the desk of Gov. Bobby Jindal. The Republican governor supports the proposal and intends to sign it into law.

Jackson, a Democrat from Monroe, described the measure as “one of the pieces of legislation that will be most impactful to this state regarding the pro-life movement.”

... Opponents say the restrictions are medically unnecessary and designed to limit abortion access. They say the legislation will shut down all abortion clinics south of Shreveport, creating the need for a five-hour drive each way for women who live in the southeastern end of the state.

But no one spoke against the bill on the House floor.

The new rules are modeled on Texas restrictions that have been adopted across several states. But the protests and sharply divided debates of Texas weren’t repeated during the Louisiana Legislature’s discussion, and the bill received overwhelming bipartisan support in the strongly conservative state.

Louisiana's status as a "strongly conservative state" in comparison to Texas, where the contentious Davis filibuster and unhinged behavior by pro-aborts took place, is questionable.  The Bayou State had a Democratic Party governor until 2008. Texas's last Democratic chief executive left office in January 1995. Mitt Romney won Louisiana in 2012 by 17.2%, and won Texas by a similar 15.8%. Though Louisiana's congressional delegation is far more GOP-dominated (5-1 vs. 24-12 in Texas), the state has a Democrat as one of its two U.S senators, while Texas does not.

The point is that Texas is about as if not more conservative than Louisiana, but the Bayou State's prolife bill passed with overwhelming Democratic Party support and apparently little rancor. The idea that the Democratic Party has moved in a pro-life direction in any state, no matter how conservative, is big, big news.

Katrina Jackson minces no words when describing the devastating effect abortion on demand has had on African-Americans:

Black Democrat: Abortion is the Number One Genocide in the African-American Community

... The author of the bill, Rep. Katrina Jackson, was heavily criticized for her leadership and determination to get the legislation passed. This is because she is a Democratic, African American woman who is proudly pro-life.

One of the first to criticize Rep. Jackson’s bill was none other than Cecile Richards, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. In a May 28th article, Richards claimed that women disapproved of HB 388. She said that politicians are attacking women’s health by restricting access to abortion and women won’t stand for this. However, Richards overlooked the fact that HB 388 is for women and by women. The legislation was drafted with the legal expertise of a Bioethics Defense Fund attorney who happens to be a woman. The bill was supported by the committee testimony of Kathy Kleibert, the woman who serves as Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. A woman representative, Sharon Weston Broome (D-Baton Rouge), carried HB 388 on the Senate side and two-thirds of the women members in the legislative body voted in support of this bill.

... Another criticism of HB 388 was that it would negatively affect the African-American community. This came to light during the Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee meeting on March 19th.According to the Christian Post, pro-abortion advocates and abortion clinic employees testified that, among all women, abortion benefits black women the most.

However, Rep. Jackson disagreed and said the following about the committee meeting:


“The No. 1 genocide in the African-American community, and why we’re becoming a minority of minorities, is because most of our babies are dying in the womb from abortions.

The comments regarding African-American women were that abortion helped them make a choice when they couldn’t take care of their child. And I told them that wasn’t a cure. If you want to really cure the situation that’s going on socioeconomically with everyone, you do that by supporting measures that give people a hand up, and not a handout.”


... It is important for pro-lifers to remember that abortion kills African American unborn babies at a startling rate. Since 1973, 13 million black babies have been lost because of abortion, and according to the Center for Disease Control, out of the approximately 4000 abortions that are performed daily in the United States, 1452 of them are performed on African American women and their unborn children.

Furthermore, abortion rates for African American teenagers are four times the rate of white teens.

So the big news from Louisiana is that an pro-life African-American Democrat sponsored an abortion reform bill similar to that passed in Texas last year, and that a strong majority of Democrats supported its ultimate passage. So the pro-life movement is either winning over Democrats who now have more pro-life sentiments or helping to elect such Democrats in the first place.

A search on Katrina Jackson's name at the AP's national web site comes up empty. A recent story by DeSlatte on Jackson's reaction to a court ruling on Mississippi's similar law has garnered only local coverage.

It doesn't take a genius to figure out why the national press has kept events in Louisiana relaively quiet. The second-last thing they want to gain national visibility is a state Democratic Party delegation which has moved towards being pro-life. The absolute last thing is the national emergence of a an African-American woman as their champion.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.