Louisiana demonstrated that there is a remnant of pro-lifers in a political party that has embraced taxpayer-funded abortion and rejected legislation protecting babies born alive in abortion clinics.
Louisiana’s House of Representatives passed a fetal heartbeat abortion ban by a bipartisan 79 to 23 vote on Wednesday evening. The Louisiana Senate passed the bill in bipartisan fashion – 31 to 5 on May 6th. The primary sponsor of the bill, SB 184, is State Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport, and State Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, introduced it into the House.
Democratic Governor Jon Bel Edwards said he would sign the bill. (Update: He signed the bill on Thursday afternoon.)
“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,” Edwards said in a released statement.
He then highlighted his Democratic pedigree.
“My first act as governor was to expand access to health care for working Louisianians. 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,” Edwards said.
“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 the legislature 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,” he added.
Louisiana’s bill requires an ultrasound to be conducted prior to any abortion procedure. If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the bill bans abortion unless, under penalty of perjury, the abortion provider declares the procedure necessary “to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
The bill also includes an exemption in the case that a physician certifies that the “unborn child has a profound and irremediable congenital or chromosomal anomaly that is incompatible with sustaining life after birth.”
The House of Representatives rejected an amendment to the bill that would have included an exemption for rape and incest.
Jackson has also authored a constitutional amendment, HB 425, that stipulates that there is no provision in the Louisiana Constitution that protects the right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion. It passed the House in April by an 81 to 10 vote and an amended version passed in the Senate 31 to 4. The House rejected the amendment that read, “The people of Louisiana retain the right through their elected state representatives and state senators to enact, amend, or repeal statutes regarding abortion, including, but not limited to circumstances of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or termination of pregnancy to save the life of the mother.”
It is currently pending in a conference committee.
Pro-life groups praised the bill’s passage.
“Louisianans on both sides of the aisle overwhelmingly reject the extreme status quo of abortion on demand through birth imposed by Roe v. Wade. Across the nation there is a growing momentum, informed by science and compassion, to recognize the humanity of the unborn child in law. We thank Rep. Jackson for her steadfast pro-life leadership and for all legislators – Republican and Democrat – who supported this measure,” SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said after the House vote.
“I commend Louisiana lawmakers for fighting for precious babies and passing this ‘heartbeat bill,’” said Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver. “The beating heart of a priceless unborn child should awaken the conscience of our nation to the violence of abortion. I am grateful that Louisiana is not afraid to take significant steps toward making the womb a safe place again.”
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party has swung even further to the left with every Democratic Presidential candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, calling for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment that prohibits the taxpayer funding of abortion. Democratic U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, did not vote to protect babies born alive after an abortion.
Also, Democrats in New York passed a bill repealing the state’s late-term abortion ban. Illinois is poised to pass a bill that repeals all abortion restrictions including a ban on partial-birth abortion.
Photo: Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (Public Domain)