Louisiana Governor — a Democrat — Expected to Sign Protective Abortion Bill Into Law If It Passes in the House

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards speaking to the media in Lafayette, Louisiana, on August 3, 2016

By Nancy Flory Published on May 22, 2019

Louisiana’s Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign one of the most powerful pro-life bills in the country. SB 184 has passed in the Senate and is in the state House for a vote. The vote will be held May 28, 2019. Why is this interesting? Gov. Edwards is a Democrat. 

SB 184, also called the “Heartbeat bill,” prohibits abortion after six weeks’ gestation. The only exclusion is if the woman’s health is at stake. 

Why would a Democratic governor sign a bill putting the most pro-life limits on abortion? Perhaps because he knows the preciousness of life following the birth of a daughter with a disability. A daughter doctors recommended be aborted.

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Nearly 30 years ago, Gov. Edwards and his wife, found out during a routine ultrasound that their daughter had spina bifida. Doctors encouraged the couple to abort the baby. Donna said in a 2015 video that she was devastated, but Gov. Edwards wasn’t fazed. “He said, ‘No, no; we’re going to love this baby no matter what.’” The couple relied on God to see them through. “It was our belief that God has a purpose in everything and we would have this child.”

Their daughter, Samantha, recently married. “Our daughter is now 24 years old. She got married two months ago and she is in graduate school. She wants to be a counselor in the public schools of Louisiana. I cannot imagine what our life would be without her, and I tell this story with her permission.”

Gov. Edwards on Abortion

Gov. Edwards’s views on abortion scare others in his party. “When Republicans are taking away women’s rights at every step, it’s on the Democrats to show that we are the party that will protect women,” said Rebecca Katz, a progressive Democratic consultant. “When we fail to do that, we make it absolutely hopeless for women around the country.”

Gov. Edwards has always been pro-life. “My position hasn’t changed. In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator,” he said. He also had a pro-life platform when he ran for governor. “I’m as consistent as I can be on that point.” The state of Louisiana is “overwhelmingly pro-life,” and Gov. Edwards said his views are “in line” with his constituents. 

“That’s the way I was raised,” he explained. “That’s what my Catholic Christian faith requires. I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet with Democrats who are pro-life every single day.”

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