BATON ROUGE, La. (CNS) — Louisiana’s Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Catholic, signed into law a measure that makes nearly all abortions illegal in the state once the fetal heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as six weeks.
“As I prepare to sign this bill,” Edwards said in a statement late May 30, “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.”
A day earlier, in 79-23 vote, the state House approved the so-called “heartbeat bill.” The state Senate overwhelmingly approved the bill May 6. It has no exceptions for rape or incest but would allow abortions only to prevent a pregnant woman’s death or in cases of “serious risk” to her health. It is expected to be almost immediately challenged in the courts.
“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 shortly after the bill was passed, but he added that his support for the pro-life bill was consistent with his overall approach to addressing poverty, immigration and many other social issues.
Pointing to his long pro-life record, he stated: “In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight as a 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 being pro-birth.”
Edwards noted a variety issues he has acted on to protect and support life, including expanding access to health care “for working Louisianans,” which he did when he was first elected governor, and he said he also has worked with the Legislature to expand investment in education and reform the state’s criminal justice system.
He also pointed to more adoptions and foster care placements that have occurred during his administration, his efforts on behalf of protecting LGBT citizens from discrimination in the workplace, raising the minimum wage and supporting that women be paid the same as men “for doing the same job.”
Louisiana joins several other states with new laws severely restricting or banning nearly all abortions: Missouri, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia and Ohio. None are in effect yet, either because they are being challenged in court or the date they take effect is weeks or months away.
In South Carolina, the state House of Representatives on April 23 passed a bill that could lead to a ban of nearly all abortions in that state. It moved to the Senate, where it was expected to face serious opposition, but the legislative session ended before that chamber could act on it.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103