Legislation at the center of an abortion case before the Supreme Court on Wednesday originally was introduced by a black, pro-life, female Democrat in the Louisiana state Senate who says the measure will “make sure women are protected.”
Louisiana state Sen. Katrina Jackson in 2014 introduced the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, or Act 620, which requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges in a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. The admitting privileges would allow a woman to go directly to the hospital if she were to need urgent care.
Opponents say the Unsafe Abortion Protection Act would hinder and potentially eliminate access to abortion in Louisiana.
But Jackson, 42, who previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives, says the law would protect women from unsafe or unhygienic abortion clinic practices.
“Just as Louisiana cares for the life of the child, it’s somehow a big secret that we also care for the life of the mother,” Jackson said at a Tuesday press conference in Washington, where she and other Louisiana lawmakers deplored dangerous practices in the state’s abortion clinics.
They also emphasized the need for abortion doctors and abortion facilities to meet the same medical standards as hospitals.
“Louisiana stands together with women everywhere because we just don’t fight for us, we fight for our daughters, our nieces, and our aunts, and everyone who’s yet to come, who has a decision to make,” Jackson said.
“Well, as long as that decision is legal, we’re going to hold the physicians to the same standards in the area of women’s health care that we hold them to in the area of man’s health care,” she added.
Jackson’s pro-life stance set her apart from many Democratic peers and alienate her from pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood that say abortion is particularly necessary for women of color.
Jackson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that she does not legislate based on race issues or political party.
“I represent people of all races and all parties. I represent males and females,” she said, but noted that the majority of Louisiana districts are overwhelmingly pro-life and voters there want restrictions on abortion.
“We are pretty pro-life,” Jackson said. “Texas, our sister state, is pro-life; our neighbor state Mississippi is pro-life; Alabama is pro-life.”
“All the Southern states, we really uphold family values,” she said. “And so being pro-life is a family value for us.”
“And also in doing so we do not pass judgment on a woman who chooses to have an abortion because it’s legal,” Jackson said. “But we do make sure that what she chooses is safe.”
The state senator said that at this moment in politics, she does not feel that the Democratic Party accepts her pro-life stances.
“They’re going to have to rethink that if our party is to be successful,” Jackson warned, noting that 70% of registered Louisiana Democrats say they believe there should be restrictions on abortion and 30% of registered Louisiana Democrats are pro-life and “don’t believe in abortion.”
“I need them to be successful because I am a pro-life Democrat and I am a whole-life Democrat, which means that I believe in life from conception to death, and so I have to advocate for those things,” she said.
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