Several Republican-led states have been emboldened to pass varying degrees of abortion bans lately. But now even a Democratic governor is ready to join their ranks.
Democrat John Bel Edwards is the governor of Louisiana, and he indicated on Thursday that he will go against his party and stand up for the lives of babies in the womb.
According to NBC News, the Republican-led House Louisana House of Representatives passed a ban on abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected. The bill passed with a 79-23 vote.
The bill does not include an exception for women and girls impregnated through rape or incest and instead protects the babies’ lives on those cases as well.
NBC News noted that Louisiana will be the fifth state to pass a “heartbeat bill.” It follows Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio.
Edwards released a statement on his decision to sign the bill, writing, “In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after service as a pro-life 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 just being pro-birth.”
He added that he’s helped expand health care access across Louisiana, given more money to public education, and helped reform the criminal justice system as governor. He said he’s also pushed for raising the minimum wage, closing the gender pay gap, and fighting against discrimination against LGBT employees.
The governor fully acknowledged that his decision to save countless lives goes against the wishes of his political party.
“I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me — and I respect their opinions,” he continued. “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.”
Evangelist Franklin Graham praised Edwards’ decision, writing on Twitter Thursday, “Yesterday Louisiana’s state legislature passed one of the nation’s most life-affirming, child-protective abortion bans, & their Democratic @LouisianaGov, John Bel Edwards, says he will sign it despite his party’s support of abortion.”
“@LouisianaGov said he’s ‘pro-life for the whole life’ & I respect that,” Graham continued. “Sadly, 75% of Dems believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Dem @RepKJackson sponsored the state’s heartbeat bill & is going against her party — because of her deeply held religious beliefs.”
“I appreciate bold leaders who stand up to protect innocent life.”
He concluded: “I hope our country is waking up to the truth that abortion is murder. It’s the termination of any innocent life. It stops a beating heart.”
“Let’s pray God will work in more politicians’ hearts to defend life.”