U.S. Louisiana governor signs bill into law banning fetal heartbeat abortion
John Bel Edwards, the Democratic governor in southern U.S. state of Louisiana, on Thursday signed into law a bill banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur at about six weeks of pregnancy.
Protesters hold signs as they rally in support of Planned Parenthood and pro-choice and to protest a state decision that would effectively halt abortions by revoking the center's license to perform the procedure, near the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri, May 30, 2019. [Photo: AFP]
With his signature, the governor broke from his party's ideology and makes Louisiana the sixth state to pass the so-called heartbeat abortion ban, joining Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Ohio and Missouri. He is the first Democratic governor to sign such a ban.
"In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years," said Edwards. "As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue."
Louisiana's ban won't take effect unless a similar bill in Mississippi is upheld in a federal appeals court, according local media reports.
Currently some three-quarters of Democrats believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, a figure that has increased by more than 10 points since the mid-1990s, according to the Pew Research Center.