Louisiana reactions to overturning of Roe v. Wade range from 'I rejoice' to 'devastating'

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion rights, causing a firestorm of reactions to the decision.

In the court's most closely watched and controversial case in years, a majority of the justices — all of whom were appointed by Republican presidents — held that the right to end a pregnancy was not found in the text of the Constitution nor the nation's history.

Abortion decisions will now be up to the states.

Louisiana had trigger laws in effect, now making abortion illegal. All three of Louisiana's abortion clinics — Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge, Women's Health Care Center in New Orleans and Hope Medical Group in Shreveport — must stop providing the procedure

Drug-induced abortions, which now account for about half of all abortions, are also part of the ban.

There are no legal exceptions for rape or incest, although there is an one to save the life of the pregnant person.

Louisiana's abortion laws: Abortion in Louisiana is illegal immediately after Supreme Court ruling

Fallout: Supreme Court ruling poised to trigger maze of state abortion laws

Here's how Louisiana leaders are reacting to the news:

Gov. John Bel Edwards

"I am and have always been unabashedly pro-life and opposed to abortion. However, I understand that people on both sides of this complex issue hold deeply personal beliefs, and I respect that not everyone, including many in my own party, agrees with my position," he said in a release.

The governor said he signed legislation without exceptions for rape or incest, though the new law does allow abortions in the case of medical futility or ectopic pregnancies.

"As I have said many times before, I believe women who are survivors of rape or incest should be able determine whether to continue with a pregnancy that is the result of a criminal act.

"And, to be clear, the legislation I recently signed protects all forms of contraception, including emergency contraception, which remains fully legal and available in Louisiana.

"Being pro-life means more than just being against abortion. It means providing the necessary resources and implementing policies that provide real options and not just lip service to the children, women and families we are blessed to serve. Now more than ever, it’s critical that Louisiana funds services to support women, children and families throughout their lives. ...

"Make no mistake, there is much more that we can do to support women, children, and families, and I hope that my fellow pro-life public officials will join me in these efforts in the coming months and years.”

U.S. Senator for Louisiana Bill Cassidy

“Today’s decision recognizes that an unborn child has a right to life,” said Dr. Bill Cassidy in a news release. “Being pro-life means being pro-mothers, pro-babies and pro-healthy futures—a philosophy I carry with me in the Senate.

"This is a deeply emotional issue for many Americans, no matter which side one stands, but it is now up to individual states to enact their own policies.”

More: How abortion access will change for Acadiana residents if Roe v. Wade is overturned

Ben Carson speaking at the Louisiana Republicans state convention at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA.  Friday, June 24, 2022.
Ben Carson speaking at the Louisiana Republicans state convention at the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA. Friday, June 24, 2022.

Ben Carson, former Department of Housing and Urban Development secretary

"Thank God that we have reached a point in this country where we're doing things the way they're supposed to be done," said Ben Carson, former secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Trump Administration, who spoke at the Louisiana GOP's annual convention on Friday. "All that's been done by the Supreme Court is, quite frankly, to return this important life and death decision to the people and to the representatives of the people rather than to a bunch of elected justices. That's the way our system was designed."

This year's state Republican convention was held at the Cajundome Convention Center, where Carson and other prominent conservatives spoke in support of the Supreme Court's decision.

Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper

"We celebrate the overturn of Roe v. Wade, restoring Louisiana’s right to protect every precious unborn baby from abortion. But we know our work is not done. Through an abundance of public and private resources, Louisiana is ready to support women and children before and after birth," Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Benjamin Clapper said in a statement.

"Louisiana is ready to abortion-free. In 2006, the Louisiana Legislature passed the Human Life Protection Act, which protects unborn babies from abortion following the reversal of Roe. SB 342, currently on Governor Edwards' desk awaiting his signature, updates the 2006 law and provides for consistency between Louisiana's civil and criminal abortion law. Additionally, the Louisiana Love Life Amendment passed in 2020 protects our body of pro-life laws against state judges from 'finding' a right to abortion in the Louisiana Constitution. We look to Governor John Bel Edwards and the Department of Health to enforce Louisiana law protecting life."

Diocese of Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel

"The decision by the United States Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is a welcomed answer to the prayers and efforts of all people of good will. Human life is sacred at all stages from the moment of conception to natural death," Diocese of Lafayette Bishop J. Douglas Deshotel said in a statement.

"This decision is an important step in bringing our society to respect all life. Given the recent atrocities and mass shootings the message of life is as important as ever today."

Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom

"Today the Supreme Court overturned 50 years of federal protections for abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade.  While we are still learning all the details and we will be looking at the impacts for days and weeks to come, let us make a few things clear: this is devastating and horrific, but it is NOT OVER. We will never stop fighting for what is ours: our right to make our own decisions about our bodies and plan our own families and futures," reads a statement from the Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom.

"We will continue to figure out just what this all means now - and in the days ahead, but the big thing we do know is that we will keep on fighting. ... We will fund abortion and defend our rights and TOGETHER WE WILL WIN. This is not the end of this fight.

"Even before this ruling, abortion was already a right in name only because of barriers to access, especially true for BIPOC, low income, rural, and LGBTQ+ communities, and especially here in the South. The Louisiana Coalition for Reproductive Freedom and our members will continue to educate, organize, advocate and mobilize right here at home and in solidarity with our partners throughout the country.”

U.S. Senator for Louisiana John Kennedy

“Despite attempts to intimidate the justices, they did their work," U.S. Senator for Louisiana John Kennedy said in a statement.

"Roe v. Wade has misrepresented the Constitution since the ruling was rendered, and today’s decision to return the issue of abortion to the American people and the states corrects a legal and moral error. Louisianians have worked for a long time to have this freedom that is rightly and constitutionally theirs. I am very pleased with today’s decision."

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry

"What's important to note is, almost 50 years ago the court actually got it wrong. Today they got it right," Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said at an impromptu press conference at the GOP convention in Lafayette on Friday.

"What's also interesting is, for those of you who live in Louisiana, it's such a great day, because today Louisiana leads. Because Louisiana is one of the few states with the most pro-life laws on the books.

"So the opportunity today is for other states to be able to take Louisiana as a template in order to protect the unborn. That is what the court has said. The court has said, 'Listen, this is a best decision that's best left for the states, which really means it's a decision that's best left for the people in the state.'"

ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Alanah Odoms

“The Supreme Court ruling is an unprecedented attack on women’s rights and reproductive freedom,” American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana Executive Director Alanah Odoms said in a statement.

“After today’s decision, Louisiana politicians are getting ready to turn back the clock nearly 50 years on our fundamental rights, and force women and everyone who can become pregnant into a second-class status. Make no mistake: These politicians won’t stop here. The same anti-abortion extremists seeking to control the bodies of pregnant people are coming for our right to access birth control and gender-affirming care, marry who we love and vote.”

Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Vice President of Strategic Partnerships-Louisiana Petrice Sams-Abiodun, PhD

“With this ruling, millions of Louisianans have lost access to safe, legal abortion and their fundamental human right to control their body, health, and life," Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Vice President of Strategic Partnerships-Louisiana Petrice Sams-Abiodun said in a statement.

"We know, Black, Latino and Indigenous people, and people living with low incomes and in rural areas will feel the impact of this ruling most severely because these communities have long faced barriers to essential health care due to structural racism and discrimination. While we have seen the writing on the wall for decades, it is no less devastating.

“Planned Parenthood believes every single person deserves access to sexual and reproductive health care no matter their income, state of residence, immigration status or zip code. Our health centers remain open, and we will continue to do everything we can to ensure all people get the sexual and reproductive health care they need.”

Contact Ashley White at adwhite@theadvertiser.com or on Twitter @AshleyyDi

This article originally appeared on Lafayette Daily Advertiser: How Louisiana leaders react to the overturning of Roe v. Wade