Louisiana is the latest in a sickeningly large number of states to pass yet another restrictive abortion measure, moving to prohibit the procedure once there’s a detectable fetal “heartbeat”—which occurs before many women even know they’re pregnant.
The state’s House passed the bill in a vote of 79-23, but it was actually Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards who masterminded the legislation. Though he has yet to put pen to paper, he almost certainly will, as Edwards has long been a vocal opponent of abortion rights. According to the New York Times, his 2015 campaign got a boost from an advertisement in which “his wife recalled the family’s decision to reject a doctor’s recommendation that she have an abortion because the child would be born with spina bifida.”
“As I prepare to sign this bill, 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,” he said Wednesday evening. He did not clarify who he means by “everyone.”
Lawmakers rejected amendments that would have included exceptions for rape and incest; exceptions will be permitted only to “save a woman’s life or prevent a ‘serious risk’ to her health.’”
“In Louisiana, we have a culture of love of life, love of family and love of God,” Representative Valarie Hodges said during the debate, tidily summing up the stance adopted by her and her cohorts: “Nothing is more precious to any of us than the heartbeat.”
Still, the law will not be enforceable until a federal judge decides on Mississippi’s version of the ban, which is currently blocked by an injunction.