Louisiana's Democrat Governor John Bel Edwards signed a bill into law on Thursday that bans most abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected.
Edwards broke with leaders of the national Democrat Party when he signed Senate Bill 184 into law. Louisiana now joins Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio which have also passed heartbeat abortion bans. An unborn baby's heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks.
“In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years,” said Edwards in a statement released before he signed the bill, according to CBS News. “As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue.”
The ACLU of Louisiana denounced Edwards’ signing of the heartbeat abortion ban, vowing in a statement posted to Twitter that they will fight it.
“Governor Edwards just signed an extreme and unconstitutional abortion ban, but it's important to know that abortion is still legal. We'll keep fighting to #StoptheBans and make sure this cruel assault on the constitutional right to abortion access never takes effect,” tweeted ACLU of Louisiana.
Pro-life activists including Lila Rose of Live Action celebrated the news, referring to Edwards’ signing of the bill into law as an “amazing step forward for human rights.”
SB 184 passed the Louisiana House of Representatives on Wednesday by a vote of 79 to 23. Earlier in May, the bill passed the state Senate by a vote of 31 to 5.
Introduced by Democrat Senator John Milkovich of Shreveport, SB 184 prohibits abortion in most circumstances for unborn babies with a detectable heartbeat.
“… it shall be unlawful for any person to knowingly perform an abortion with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being when a fetal heartbeat has been detected,” stated the legislation.
SB 184 included an exemption for abortions meant to “prevent the death of a pregnant woman” or “prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
“We believe children are a gift from God,” said Sen. Milkovich in comments reported by The Associated Press on May 15, adding “once a heartbeat is detected, the baby can’t be killed.”