Democratic Governor Ready To Break from Party Lines, Sign 'Heartbeat' Bill - Report
Citing his faith and the power of personal experience, a Democratic governor is prepared to support a bill that would ban an abortion after the heartbeat of an unborn child can be detected, according to a published report.
Louisiana’s bill to ban abortions at roughly six weeks into pregnancy is nearing a final state House vote after clearing a House committee last week. The bill would then go to Gov. John Bel Edwards.
Edwards is expected to sign the bill when it reaches him, The Associated Press reported.
At a Thursday press conference, Edwards was asked about the bill, WAFB reported
“In eight years in the legislature, I was a pro-life legislator, 100 percent with the Louisiana Right to Life,” Edwards said. “When I ran for governor, I said I was pro-life and so that’s something that’s consistent.”
Louisiana’s law is similar to bills passed in states such as Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio. Abortion supporters are challenging the laws in court. Louisiana’s law would not take effect until the courts have settled the issue in neighboring Mississippi.
Although a Democrat, Edwards has a personal stake in supporting pro-life legislation that dates back about 30 years. When his wife, Donna, was pregnant with their first child, a doctor proposed an abortion after learning the child had spina bifida. Edwards and his wife refused.
That child — their daughter, Samantha — is now employed as a school counselor and is married.
“This is personal for Donna and me, and we take it very seriously. We are committed to reducing the number of abortions in Louisiana,” Edwards said in a March statement, the Shreveport Times reported.
However, that story cuts no ice with pro-abortion forces that expect Democrats to be on their side.
“When Republicans are taking away women’s rights at every step, it’s on the Democrats to show that we are the party that will protect women. When we fail to do that, we make it absolutely hopeless for women around the country,” said Rebecca Katz, a progressive Democratic consultant.
But Edwards calls the people of his state “overwhelmingly pro-life,” according to CBS.
“That’s the way I was raised. That’s what my Catholic Christian faith requires,” Edwards has said. “I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day.”
“This is not an easy issue to pigeonhole people — or especially me — on, at least, because I don’t think the labels really work,” Edwards said.
Louisiana’s proposal carves out an exception to the ban to protect the life and health of a mother, but not for cases of rape or incest.
“Rape and incest are terrible, awful things, but we shouldn’t punish the child for the sins of the father in this situation. They need to be given the same protection that other unborn babies and other humans for that matter are given,” said Ben Clapper of Louisiana Right to Life.
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