Louisiana's governor, a Democrat, signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill into law

Louisiana's governor, a Democrat, signs 'heartbeat' abortion bill into law

Louisiana lawmakers on Wednesday passed a bill banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, joining a string of other U.S. states restricting the termination of pregnancies as early as six weeks.

State legislators overwhelmingly backed the bill on Wednesday, by 79 votes to 23 and Governor John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law on Thursday.

The state joins four other states-Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio-in supporting the heartbeat bill.

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, said that he will sign the bill into law.

"I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me - and I respect their opinions", Edwards said. The law doesn't contain exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest.

If the ultrasound detects a fetal heartbeat, the abortion is illegal unless the provider insists that the procedure is necessary "to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman", CNN reported.

Six states - Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and OH - have all passed restrictive abortion laws after six weeks' gestation. None of the bans has taken effect, and all are expected to face legal challenges. Alabama has approved a stricter law that would ban almost all abortions in the state. The bill is the latest in a slew of state-led efforts to restrict abortion.

The Louisiana legislation will not go into effect until a U.S. Appeals Court rules on whether to allow a similar measure in neighboring MS to take effect. He had repeatedly said he meant to sign the measure, citing his faith and saying his views match those of people in his conservative, religious state, who he described as "overwhelmingly pro-life".

Edwards released a statement noting that he ran as a "pro-life candidate" after serving as a "pro-life legislator". "Across the nation there is a growing momentum, informed by science and compassion, to recognize the humanity of the unborn child in law", Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said in a statement provided to the Washington Free Beacon. "We are not that important to make that decision for a woman who is raped".

The US Supreme Court earlier this year narrowly blocked new abortion restrictions in Louisiana, which would have required doctors who provide abortion services to be certified to practise at a nearby hospital - which critics say would have limited the right to abortion and would cause two of the state's abortion clinics to close.

Edwards, facing re-election this fall, is somewhat of a pariah in the Democrat Party as he is the only pro-life Democrat governor in the country, making him one of the most prominent pro-life Democrat elected officials in the country.

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