Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards Signs Bill Banning Abortions When Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   Steven Ertelt   May 30, 2019   |   5:35PM    Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards today signed the bill banning abortions when an unborn baby’s heartbeat begins. Edwards had previously spoken in favor of the bill and after the state legislature approved it on Wednesday the governor said he would sign it into law.

“I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me – and I respect their opinions,” Edwards said in a statement.

“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.”

“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 beliefs on this issue. But it is also my sincere belief that being pro-life means more than just being pro-birth,” said Edwards.

“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.

New Orleans Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the head of the state’s Democratic party, called the measure “egregious and offensive” and had encouraged opponents to call the governor’s office to urge him not to sign the bill.

“Sad day in Louisiana,” Peterson said on Twitter. “Women’s right to choose completely disrespected! It’s offensive! One’s faith is not imposed on others in their policy … others have (different) beliefs.”

But Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, told LifeNews.com after the signing: “We thank Governor Edwards for signing the Heartbeat bill into law to protect unborn babies whose heartbeat can be detected. Abortion stops the beating heart of a precious and irreplaceable unborn child, and the Heartbeat bill is another step towards full protection of the rights of these children. We look forward to a day when every baby is protected by law and welcomed with love in our state and nation.”

The Louisiana legislature Wednesday gave its final approval to the heartbeat bill to make it the next state to ban abortions this year – following states like Ohio, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Missouri. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards says he will sign a bill that bans abortions when a baby’s heartbeat begins.

The Louisiana House voted 79-23 to pass the pro-life bill —  sending it to the governor for his signature. The House rejected an amendment that would have provided an exception to allow killing unborn babies in cases of rape or incest.

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The Heartbeat Bill, when it goes into effect, will prohibit abortion when a human heartbeat can be detected. An abdominal ultrasound can detect a heartbeat between eight and twelve weeks.

The measure is Senate Bill 184 by Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, and Louisiana’s proposed bill is modeled after a similar Mississippi law that is being debated in a federal appeals court. It would only go into effect if the Mississippi bill is upheld.

“States across the nation are saying, ‘We are no longer going to devalue life,” Milkovich said. “We are going to acknowledge the sanctity of human life.’”

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, told LifeNews.com after the vote:

“We commend the House for voting to protect the lives of an unborn baby whose heartbeat can be detected. We congratulate Rep. Valarie Hodges for successfully shepherding the law on the House floor. Louisiana Right to Life supports protecting all unborn babies, including those with a heartbeat that begins only 18 days after conception. This is even before most women know they are pregnant. Abortion stops the beating heart of a precious unborn child, and our nation must bring an end to this injustice. We look forward to Governor John Bel Edwards signing this bill into law.”

Edwards is a Democrat but he is one of the few pro-life Democrats in a prominent elected position nationwide.

Passage comes as a new Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters support Heartbeat abortion bans and said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive, according to The Hill.

“The people who say abortion should be legal in all cases or illegal in all cases is a minority,” researcher Daniel Cox with the American Enterprise Institute told Hill.TV. “The vast majority of Americans are somewhere in the middle that abortion should be legal under some circumstances and there’s some significant variation.”

The May 10-11 poll found that 21 percent of voters said six-week abortion bans are “too lenient,” 34 percent said they are “just right” and 45 percent said they are “too restrictive.

A recent Marist Poll found that 80% of Americans want to limit abortions no later than three months of pregnancy (12 weeks), and another poll found that 56% of voters are in favor of Heartbeat Bills specifically.

This year, pro-life lawmakers have introduced a number of heartbeat bills including in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recentlymade Ohio the 6th state to make it law.

Kentucky also passed a heartbeat law this year, but a federal judge already has blocked it.

Some pro-lifers have renewed hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court will uphold an abortion ban and overturn Roe v. Wade. Others, however, are hesitant because of concerns about losing the court battle and being forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups for their legal fees.

The Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks. There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider overturning Roe, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain.