BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Eager to prove their pro-life credentials in the increasingly Republican South, conservative lawmakers are pushing to define a fetus as a person from the moment of conception and spur a direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.
By defining "personhood," legislatures in Louisiana and Alabama are effectively considering whether to ban abortion, even in rape or incest cases. In Mississippi, a personhood amendment to the state Constitution will appear on the November ballot.
A national group plans to launch ballot initiatives for some Western and Midwestern states in coming weeks.
Lawmakers who support personhood acknowledge their bills would go against federal law. But that's the point.
Rep. John LaBruzzo, a Metairie, La., Republican, said the laws will spark important lawsuits and bring change.