to be sent out of state without first checking to see if they arernneeded by citizens of the Pehcan State. The legislature alsornpassed a resolution directing state Attorney General Richardrnleyoub to challenge the legality and constitutionality of the federalrnregulation. The resolution stated that organs donated inrnLouisiana “are to be considered a state resource and used whenrnpossible as a resource in the state.”rnleyoub, who in 1977 donated a kidney to his youngest brother,rnagreed to initiate the legal action, arguing that the currentrndecentralized state and regional system works well because itrnboth promotes donations and makes the best use of the donatedrnorgans. leyoub said people are more likely to donate if theyrnknow it may help a relative, friend, or neighbor rather than goingrnto a large city, such as Philadelphia, where it may possiblyrnnever be used. The attorney general flatly stated that, if thernnew federal system is implemented, the Louisiana donationrnsystem would be destroyed and people would die. The suit wasrnfiled, implementation of the federal program was blocked, andrnLouisiana’s position was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court ofrnAppeals.rnThe coup de grace to nationalization was given by U.S. RepresentativernRobert Livingston of Louisiana when he cosponsoredrnlegislation placing a one-year inoratorium on the proposedrnfederal program and then protected it during budgetrnnegotiations in Congress.rnProbably no issue has more alienated Louisiana from thernfederal government than has abortion. The state has had a runningrnbattle with Washington over regulation of the most basicrnof all human rights, the right to life. While forced by Roe v.rnWade to allow abortion in the first 13 weeks of life, Louisianarnlegislators have crafted some of the most restrictive abortionrnlaws in the nation. After the first 13 weeks, abortions are allowedrnonly “for the express purpose of saving the life of thernmother,” and in cases of rape or incest.rnThe state’s latest battles with the federal government havernbeen over taxpayer-fimded abortions and the state’s ban on partial-rnbirth abortion. Last October, a 26-year-old Louisiana womanrnon Medicaid made national headlines when the state refusedrnto pay for her abortion. The woman, who is awaiting arnheart transplant, sought the abortion in the third month ofrnpregnancy, but doctors at the Louisiana State University MedicalrnCenter in Shreveport refused to perform it because of arnstate law which prohibits the use of public funds for abortionsrnunless the pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk or resultedrnfrom incest or rape. (Louisiana had been forced several yearsrnago to offer abortions for Medicaid patients under the threat ofrna cutoff of all Medicaid money from Washington. However,rnthe state placed the strictest possible regulations on Medicaidfundedrnabortions.) To obtain an abortion after 13 weeks, a panelrnof doctors must rule that there is at least a 50-percent chancernthat the mother will die unless she has the abortion, hi thisrncase, the abortion was denied. The National Abortion Federationrnin Washington, D.C., eventually covered the costs for thernprocedure, which was performed in Houston, Texas.rnStill unresolved, as of this writing, is the Louisiana partialbirthrnabortion ban, which was blocked by a federal judge beforernit could be put into effect. Wlien President Clinton vetoedrna partial-birtii abortion ban for the second time, the Louisianarnlegislature passed such a law for the state. Last November, inrnthe U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana,rnthe state defended the law, arginng that a child in the processrnof being born has never been stripped of his personhood; Roe v.rnWade, therefore, does not apply. Louisiana claimed the rightrnto protect the child’s life because pregnancy ended when thernbirth process began. “It comes down to how you decide whenrnpregnancy ends and when birth begins,” Assistant AttorneyrnGeneral Roy Mongrue told the court. The state’s medical expertsrntestified that pregnancy is terminated by the onset of thernbirth process. Partial-birth abortion would thus be infanticide,rnnot abortion, and the state would have every right to regulate it.rnArguing for abortion proponents, Priscilla Smith, an attorneyrnfor the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy in NewrnYork, said the state was attempting to stop all abortions. “Theyrnare trying to change the constitutional definition of a person byrnmoving up a few inches into the woman’s body and defining arnperson to be a fetus partly within the uterus and partly out of arnuterus even though it’s in the woman’s body,” she said.rnAs the battles over partial-birth abortion and organ donationrnshow, Louisiana’s state sovereignty amendment was not an isolated,rnfeel-good measure that means nothing, as some mediarnelites would like to believe. Rather, it was a logical continuationrnof an ongoing struggle by Louisianians and most of theirrnelected officials to recover some measure of their lost independencernand states’ rights. If other states follow suit, there mayrnstill be some hope of reviving the federalist system instituted byrnthe Foimding Fathers. c;rnThe Dead Poetrnby Timothy MurphyrnAt last the path runs straightrnfrom his hovel to the skiesrnand the bolted postern gaternof the Western Paradisernwhere seven times sevenrnImmortals judge a throng,rnadmitting some to heavenrnfor the pittance of a song.rnAPRIL 1999/21rnrnrn