Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards on Thursday signed legislation prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs around six weeks into pregnancy.
The heartbeat bill, which does not include an exception for rape or incest, will be implemented only if similar legislation recently passed in Mississippi is upheld in federal court. It passed the state House of Representatives on Wednesday on a bipartisan 79-23 vote.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic state senator John Milkovich, argued that the effective six-week abortion ban reflected the values of his constituents in a statement celebrating the bill’s passage.
“God values human life, and so do the people of Louisiana,” the state senator, John Milkovich, said this month. “We believe this is an important step in dismantling the attack of the abortion cartel on our next generation.”
In a statement announcing his support for the legislation Wednesday night, Edwards, who is the first Democratic governor to sign a heartbeat bill, touted his liberal bonafides, including his expansion of public healthcare options and his defense of LGBTQ rights, and acknowledged that many of his fellow Democrats disagreed with his views on abortion.
“I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me — and I respect their opinions,” the governor said.
— John Bel Edwards (@LouisianaGov) May 29, 2019
Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia, and Missouri also passed fetal heartbeat bills earlier this year. Alabama went even further in restricting abortion, passing legislation earlier this month that effectively bans abortion at any stage of pregnancy, even in cases of rape of incest, in an effort to prompt a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.