Yesterday Governor John Bel Edwards said he will break with his party & sign a bill to outlaw abortions in Louisiana once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The House of Representatives voted 79 to 23 in favor of Senate Bill 184. It will ban abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
Rep. Valerie Hodges, a Republican, said, "Whether it’s a perfect life or imperfect life...I think life is worth saving"
Pro-life organizations are praising the state for passing the bill.
Ben Clapper, executive director of the Louisiana Right to Life, said, "Senate Bill 184 protects the unborn baby when their heartbeat is detectable. The unborn child has a heartbeat and abortion stops that beating heart and we need to protect the life of that baby by protecting them when that heart is beating."
State Democrats attempted to water down the anti-abortion legislation, but with little success.
Rep. John Bagneris, a Democrat from New Orleans, criticized the bill, "Let a woman choose what she needs to do with her body, that’s her body and the state has no jurisdiction over that."
Rep. Rodney Lyons, another Democrat, called the bill unconstitutional.
Governor Edwards issued the following statement:
“In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years. As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue. But it is also my sincere belief that being pro-life means more than just being pro-birth.
My first act as governor was to expand access to health care for working Louisianans. I have worked with Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature to expand investment in education and pass sweeping criminal justice reforms. For each of the last three years, my administration has set records for the number of children being adopted out of our foster care system. And despite fierce opposition, I’ve fought to ensure LGBT citizens are not discriminated against in the workplace, to raise the minimum wage, and to pay a woman the same as a man for doing the same job.
I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me – and I respect their opinions. As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone.”
While this is a huge victory for pro-life advocates, the law will only take effect if a similar law in Mississippi passes a federal appeals court.
Handsmaid themed protesters stand outside the Louisiana Supreme Court in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana, on May 25, 2019, to protest the proposed Heartbeat Bill that will ban abortion after 6 weeks in that state scheduled for a vote on May 28. (Photo by Emily KASK / AFP) (Photo credit should read EMILY KASK/AFP/Getty Images)