When the New York legislature, led by a Democratic majority, chose to extend abortion until birth and a week later the Governor of Virginia even endorsed infanticide, many across the country were shocked. It seemed like a sign that one of the country’s largest political parties was embracing a radical pro-abortion agenda. But Louisiana and its Governor, John Bel Edwards, has decided to buck the trend.
Several states around the country have recently signed into law what are known as Heartbeat Bills, which limits abortion to around the 6th week of pregnancy. When Louisiana decided to pass its own heartbeat bill, Gov. Edwards did not hesitate to sign it into law. What’s most surprising about this is that Edwards isn’t a Republican, he’s a Democrat.
As the Democratic party seems to embrace abortion on demand at any point in pregnancy and even infanticide, Edwards is instead embracing life and, in the process, likely going to take heat from his own party. But Edwards has a very personal reason for doing so, and it’s unlikely that anyone could change his mind.
More than two decades ago, Edwards and his wife faced the abortion question head on when their preborn daughter was diagnosed in the womb with spina bifida at about 20 weeks of pregnancy. The young parents, as any would be, were unsure of what the future looked like but wanted to continue with the pregnancy. Their doctor suggested abortion, and even tried to emphasize the point by having the couple tour a clinic with children who had the condition. A deliberate ploy to pressure the Edwardses into an abortion.
But they didn’t flinch.
“It was our belief that God has a purpose in everything, and we would have this child,” Edwards said to Catholic Philly in an interview. “I credit Donna, she is a very courageous person. Our daughter is now 24 years old. She got married two months ago and she is in graduate school. She wants to be a counselor in the public schools of Louisiana. I cannot imagine what our life would be without her, and I tell this story with her permission.”
Although he credits his pro-life stance to his parents and how they raised him, it is unmistakable how the life of his daughter impacts his decision to remain pro-life despite the pressure he might face.
The message of his daughter and her life is also incredibly important in the face of the growing number of abortions occurring for medical conditions like spina bifida and Down syndrome. These babies are usually healthy or have a treatable/ manageable condition, but physicians, like the one the Edwardses encountered, often push abortion as a “cure” for the condition. That’s not “medical advancement,” it’s eugenics, which Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently pointed out.
“Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s (which tried to limit abortion in the instance of race, gender or fetal diagnosis),” Thomas wrote in his response to the court’s decision to wait on ruling on an Indiana law prohibiting abortion on the basis of race, sex or disability. “So long as the Supreme Court forces a policy of unfettered election abortion on the entire country, it ought to at least allow for states to protect babies from unjust discrimination.”
As the cultural battle of abortion continues to heat up across the country, Gov. Edwards may signal that not all hope is lost. There are some pushing radical pro-abortion policies, but there are many people around the country who don’t agree and continue to fight for life.