On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Governor John Bel Edwards made Louisiana the ninth state to pass various anti-abortion legislation. The state of Louisiana follows its conservative neighbors by passing the heartbeat bill SB 184, which places a ban on abortions after the sixth week of pregnancy. SB 184 is the first heartbeat bill signed into law by a Democratic governor.
This bill will not allow abortion to take place after a fetal heartbeat is detected, nor will it include exceptions for rape and incest cases. Physicians who perform these procedures may face up to 10 years in prison while paying $100,000 in fines. However, women will not be charged for undergoing the procedure.
This could indicate a shift in the pro-life movement, as this bill was originally drafted by Senate Democrat John Milkovich.
In the lower chamber, Democratic State Representative Katrina Jackson has moved to make life a bipartisan issue, stating,
“It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or Republican, black or white - we fight for life.”
However, not everyone views this bill as a step in a positive direction. Critics of Louisiana leaders, such as NARAL Pro-Choice America political director Nicole Brener-Schmitz, claim that,
“Governor John Bel Edwards turned his back on the women of Louisiana today at a time when they needed him most. As anti-choice politicians pass dangerous and unconstitutional bans on abortion before many women know they’re pregnant, people in Louisiana and across the country are watching closely. ... He won’t get a pass just because he is a Democrat."
Despite the negative commentary, it is truly extraordinary to see a divided political field come together on the right to life. No matter what side of the political aisle our politicians are on, it is a huge step forward to see everyone uniting in the fight for human dignity and the protection of the preborn.