Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards Defends Signing Bill to Ban Abortions in Louisiana

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jun 19, 2019   |   11:44AM   |   Washington, DC

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards defended his actions to protect unborn babies from abortion Tuesday against attacks from his fellow lawmakers in the Democratic Party.

Edwards is one of the last pro-life Democratic politicians in the country. In May, he signed a law banning abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy.

Though some people “were disappointed” that he signed the pro-life law, Edwards said Tuesday that most were pleased, the AP reports. He spoke about his pro-life record during a signing ceremony for the state budget in Baton Rouge.

“On the other hand there were a lot of people who were very happy about it as well. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t a political consideration,” Edwards said. “It was me being true to myself and true to what I told the people of Louisiana that I was, and I’ve been very clear about that.”

Up for re-election in the fall, the governor said he is not worried about voters rejecting him because he is pro-life, The Advocate reports.

“At the end of the day because of all the good that we’ve done in Louisiana over the last three and a half years, I fully expect that we’re going to be just fine in this race,” Edwards said.

Edwards has borne continued attacks from fellow Democrats because he believes unborn babies deserve to be protected under the law.

According to the AP, state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the head of the Louisiana Democratic Party, slammed pro-life lawmakers after Edwards signed the bill in May.

“Embarrassing! Apologies to LA women, particularly for the disrespect to women victimized by rape or incest,” Peterson wrote on Twitter.

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In a statement prior to signing the bill, Edwards defended his position that unborn babies deserve a right to life.

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

“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,” he continued.

Edwards’ position on abortion is the opposite of most Democrat politicians. Nationally, the Democratic Party platform supports abortions without restriction and taxpayer-funded abortions. This year, Democratic lawmakers blocked a federal bill to protect newborns from infanticide, including every U.S. Senate Democrat who is running for president.

This position is radically out of touch with most voters. A recent Hill-HarrisX survey found that 55 percent of voters said they do not think laws banning abortions after six weeks – when an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable – are too restrictive. Earlier this year, a Marist University poll found that just 13 percent of Americans support the New York law that legalized abortions for basically any reason up to birth.