The 2011 Louisiana Legislative Session is from April 25 to June 23. The 2011 session is a "fiscal" session, meaning the session is shorter and less bills are introduced as whole.
Our main legislative priority in 2011 is the HB 636 by State Representative Frank Hoffman called the "Signs of Hope Act", or more technically, the "Forced Abortion Warning Sign and Internet Access to Abortion Alternatives Act".
On June 23rd 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 office are term-limited, and in November (2011), 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 sessions:
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:
On Tuesday, June 21st, 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 June 20th, 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). G
overnor Jindal spoke to the group on the importance of pro-life legislation, and signed a proclamation heralding the Signs of Hope Act.
Women deserve love and commitment. But a tragic consequence of Roe is that it enables m
en to use women and then subtly or overtly coerce abortion. Often it is an employer, friend or parent who pressures a woman. A 2004 study shows that 64% of American women felt pressured into abortion by others.
H.B. 636 addresses this in two ways:
The legislation provides for 120 days for implementation of the signs, the website, and the redesign of the abortion alternatives pamphlet. We will work with the Jindal administration to ensure timely and effective action!
Thanks to Representative Frank Hoffman for courageously carrying the bill, to Dorinda Bordlee of the Bioethics Defense Fund for the legal expertise, and Governor Jindal and his staff for standing by the legislation!
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. They knew the only way they could defeat the resolution was play legislative games.
While this is a disappointment, HCR 54 was only a resolution and had no force of law.
This resolution was the first-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 decision, we are watching and investigating to see what else can be done here.
While our legislative priority was the Signs of Hope Act, the legislation that garner 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 law 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.
We strongly opposed SB 155, Sen. Martiny's efforts to open confidential adoption records after 24 years. We worked closely with St. Elizabeth's 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 work with them to improve the adoption registry to ensure birth mothers and adoptees can be reconnected if both parties consent.
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.