Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards reportedly signaled he would sign his country's "heartbeat" law – which effectively banned abortion after only a few weeks of pregnancy – when his party faced the question of whether it should be more pro-life sound inclusive.
"When I run for governor, I say I am pro-life and that is something consistent," he was reported when asked about the bill on Thursday.
The bill, which awaits a vote from the Louisiana House of Representatives, will make the state the most stringent in access to abortion – following a series of other states that issued restrictions on concrete efforts to make the Supreme Court reconsider the main precedent on the issue.
Pro-life supporters have announced measures such as "heartbeat" legislation while groups such as Planned Parenthood have challenged them in a series of legal battles. The Louisiana bill could face a lawsuit from the same group – the American Civil Liberties Union – which sued Ohio for its own "heartbeat" law.
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"My position hasn't changed. In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator, "Edwards said. Edwards attributed his pro-life attitude to his beliefs, but that also seemed to have personal meaning. Nearly three decades ago, he and his wife decided to have their daughter, who was diagnosed as a baby with spina bifida, against the doctor's advice to be canceled.
During his monthly radio program, the governor appeared to acknowledge his breakup with the Democrats, who constantly criticized state-level laws such as Louisiana.
"I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, it is not suitable. But I will tell you, here in Louisiana, I speak and meet pro-life Democrats every day," he said.
Democrats such as Edwards were in a politically difficult place because the Supreme Court obtained a conservative majority and members of their own party pushed for more controversial forms of abortion.
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In 2016, former Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost after a fiery confrontation with then-candidate Donald Trump that highlighted her support for long-term abortion during the debate. It also seems to raise media questions, whether the party should expand its tent to be more friendly to pro-life voters.
"Every Democrat, like every American, must support a woman's right to make her own choices about her body and health," said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez earlier.
According to the Marist poll from 2019, Democrats vary in their opinions about restrictions on abortion. But a strong majority – 60 percent – say they support limiting abortion in the first trimester. Another poll from May shows that overall, registered voters think that the heart rate bill is "right" or "too soft." That's different from 45 percent who said they were "too restrictive."
Democrats for Life, who voiced support for the "heartbeat" law, have challenged the party at this point in particular – calling for things such as language that is more inclusive of party leadership and the Pro-Life Democratic Political Action Committee.
Democratic Democrats have acknowledged that being pro-life and Democrats is possible but, as stated by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Explained, the party was "very pro-choice."
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Schumer, who criticized the "heartbeat" law passed on Friday in Missouri, has formed a united front with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., In an initiative against pro-life that Trump and others opposed.
Trump, who was praised by pro-life leaders, aroused Democratic fears in 2018 when he appointed Chief Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Court which seemed to be divided equally according to ideological lines on the matter. Kavanaugh can consider the laws of the Edwards state and others if they reach the Supreme Court – potentially ending the protection established under Roe v. Wade or Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
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Towards the 2020 election, Trump has tried to tie Democrats to long-term abortion. Democrats such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who pushed for a bill that allows abortion to the point of birth, have faced close scrutiny of their support for the issue.
But when Democrats face accusations they support "extreme" abortion proposals, Republicans also do it. The party seems to be grappling with the problem after Alabama passed an abortion ban that excluded exceptions to rape and incest – a provision opposed by Ronna McDaniel, party leader, "personally".
The Associated Press contributed to this report.