In 1973, the ruling of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court legalized abortion across the United States. But, in mid-2021 after nearly half a century, this ruling is being challenged. Now that the Supreme Court is revisiting this ruling, the legal rights to protect fetal life are becoming more and more possible. This year, we anticipate a new decision regarding Roe v. Wade. Should this case be overturned, 26 states, including Louisiana, are likely to ban or restrict abortions in the state. How will the post-Roe v. Wade ruling affect the state of Louisiana? What are Louisiana abortion trigger laws? And how could this affect adoption in Louisiana?

First, Let’s Recap the Court Ruling

In 1971, a woman under the pseudonym of Jane Roe opened a class action lawsuit in Texas against district attorney Henry Wade. As a young, single pregnant woman, Roe challenged state laws that prohibited abortion unless approved for medical, life-saving purposes. This attack on the laws was also supported by the Doe family who argued that the Texas abortion laws failed to take women’s medical health or preparedness for parenthood into account. While the Does’ complaint was ruled nonjusticiable, Roe moved forward with a case to sue, stating that these laws were unconstitutional.

In opposition, the court challenged that legalizing abortion in the state was in direct disagreement with the Hippocratic Oath, claiming that prescribing an abortion was equivalent to prescribing deadly medicine. The defense also noted the English statutory law and the Infant Life Preservation Act of 1929. Specifically, 19 & 20 Geo. 5, c. 34 of this act stated that the termination of life capable of being born alive was a willful and intentional offense. Additionally, it was argued that the current laws inhibiting access to abortions not only protected the sanctity of life but the rights of the unborn child, as well.

In 1973, the case of Roe v. Wade concluded, and abortion was legalized with less government restriction than before.

Roe v. Wade: The Aftermath

Since this ruling, many acts and amendments have been passed both in support and opposition to the Roe v. Wade ruling. For instance, in 1992 Planned Parenthood challenged Governor Robert Casey on his abortion statute requiring a woman to provide informed consent from her husband or legal guardians. The Court ruling of Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, expressing that laws should not pose an “undue burden” against women’s right to abortion.  

But in May of 2021, Texas lawmakers passed legislation reintroducing criminal penalties for abortion under certain circumstances. The Texas Heartbeat Act, which was enacted with the passage of Senate Bill 8, prohibits abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat as early as six weeks after conception. Additionally, it also allows legal action to be taken against abortion providers who violate this law. 

Though legal attempts were made to block this abortion ban, these attempts ended in September 2021. This legal act, along with the Dobbs v. Jackson case in Mississippi to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, has begun the conversation of overturning or weakening the Roe v. Wade ruling.

On Monday, May 2, 2022, groundbreaking information concerning the future of abortion legality in the United States was leaked from the Supreme Court. A draft opinion written by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was released stating that the court holds that both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey must be overturned.

Now, we await the final ruling on whether or not the laws put in place by Roe v. Wade will be reversed. As a leading source for adoption in Louisiana, St. Elizabeth Foundation understands the importance of this decision and wants to help you understand the impact of state trigger laws and how this could affect adoption in our state.

Understanding Louisiana Abortion Trigger Laws

“Trigger laws” are laws that are made immediately enforceable once a separate law is passed or overturned. Post-Roe v. Wade, several states, including Louisiana, have put laws in place to “trigger” as soon as the ruling is reversed. For Louisiana in particular, these trigger laws include bans, near-total bans, six-week bans, and legislation barring the protection of abortion. Let’s break these down further:

  • Trigger bans on abortion take effect as soon as Roe v. Wade is dissolved.
  • Near-total bans prohibit abortion with limited exceptions depending on the circumstances.
  • Six-week bans prohibit abortions later than six weeks of pregnancy.
  • State constitution bars protection asserts that the Louisiana Constitution be amended to block abortion rights.

Currently, abortion is legal in Louisiana throughout the first 22 weeks of pregnancy. Therefore, if Roe v. Wade is not overturned, abortion will remain accessible to the general public or teens with legal permission from their parent or legal guardian. But, in the case of a reversed ruling, these Louisiana abortion trigger laws are prepared for immediate effect.

How Roe v. Wade Affects Louisiana Adoption

It’s no surprise that legalized abortion has greatly impacted adoption in our country. Access to abortion has reduced adoption rates nationwide. States with abortion bans lifted by Roe v. Wade saw a significant 34 to 37% decrease. It has negatively impacted many others, including families seeking adoption. 

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the abortion rate would fall by an estimated 34.3% in Louisiana alone. For this reason, we will likely see an increase in numbers within adoption agencies. St. Elizabeth Foundation understands the responsibility of caring for these expectant mothers and their children by helping to connect the children with loving, lasting homes. 

By prohibiting access to abortions, many children will be able to receive opportunities for life, love, education, and more that would have not been an option otherwise. At the same time, potential parents who are struggling with infertility or simply wish to expand their family through adoption can connect with these children through the safe environment our adoption agency has created. 

In some circumstances, mothers who carry their children to term decide to parent them. However, if birth mothers choose openness in adoption, they have the chance to watch their child grow and thrive without sacrificing the goals they have for their own future.

Abortion Alternatives at St. Elizabeth Foundation

Many women have chosen abortion over adoption due to the fear of shame, financial burden, and a lack of support throughout their pregnancy. While abortion may seem like a fast and easy decision, it can also leave the mother with deep feelings of guilt and even adverse health effects. But during a worrisome and unsteady circumstance such as an unplanned pregnancy, knowing each option available to you may be difficult.

At St. Elizabeth Foundation, we understand these fears and help women facing unintended pregnancies find solutions that benefit both the mother and the baby. If a mother feels unprepared for parenthood, overwhelmed by finances, or simply is not ready to alter her aspirations in order to take on motherhood, adoption can be a healthy alternative. At St. Elizabeth’s, birth mothers receive counseling, financial support, and empowerment from our caring team. Every decision from where to have her baby to the openness of the adoption is placed in her hands. And after the birth and finalization of the adoption, our support does not end. We remain available for post-placement counseling.

We also understand that our birth mothers aren’t alone in adoption-related worries. Adopting families can face challenges including financial commitment, legal hurdles, and emotional struggles. However, just as St. Elizabeth supports birth mothers, we also ensure adopting couples have every possible resource available to them, from counseling and education to a loving support system from our staff and other adopting families.

Adoption is a beautiful solution filled with opportunities for birth mothers, children, and adopting families alike. Let St Elizabeth Foundation show you how to begin your own adoption journey.

Choosing Adoption in Louisiana

No matter how the Dobbs v. Jackson case resolves, St. Elizabeth Foundation remains dedicated to changing lives through adoption. We seek to provide deep, loving care for birth mothers as they navigate the choices ahead of them. For couples looking to grow their own families through the loving decision to adopt, we help you connect with birth mothers to begin the journey to finding your child. And, we work diligently to protect budding new life and provide opportunities for the child and all involved.

If you are pregnant or would like to become an adopting family, we want to share more information, answers to your questions, or support as you pursue adoption. Give us a call today at 225-769-8888, or send us a message. We look forward to extending love, education, and encouragement every step of the way.