STATEMENT OF KRISTEN DAY,
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF DEMOCRATS FOR LIFE OF AMERICA
Democrats for Life of America congratulates Governor John Bel Edwards for his integrity and courage by signing Louisiana’s legislation to prohibit abortion once a heartbeat is detected.
Governor Edwards is a leader for the “pro-life-for-the-whole-life” movement by advocating for life in the womb, women with unplanned pregnancies, and support for families and for any person who needs assistance. We commend his consistent approach to governing.
In his first official act after his election in 2015, Governor Edwards signed an executive order to expand Medicaid, providing more than 450,000 of the state’s working poor with health-care coverage. As a result, new mothers have better access to prenatal and postnatal care, and Louisianans have better access to preventive and primary health care. Medicaid expansion has also been linked to more economic stability for families.
Governor Edwards has prioritized finding homes for children in foster care and children in need of loving homes. As a result, Louisiana set a record for the number of children adopted from foster care, increased the number of adoptions overall, and decreased the number of children in need of adoption; and abortions have dropped by 15 percent – from 10,211 in 2014 to 8,049 in 2018. The governor’s whole-life support includes funding for early childhood education, which was drastically cut by his Republican predecessor, and a living wage for families to support themselves.
Democrats for Life of America supports legislation to recognize the fact that life begins in the womb and the fact that a fetal heartbeat can be seen and heard at six weeks. However, we must continue to address the difficulty of our struggle to make the long-term commitment to that new life and the reality of the challenges that many women face, including poverty, pressure to abort their children, and news of a prenatal diagnosis. We urge states that passed, or are considering, reasonable abortion regulations to follow the lead of Governor John Bel Edwards by looking for opportunities and implementing meaningful support for economically vulnerable women and families.
The Republican Party’s efforts to pass abortion regulations that are unaccompanied by strong social supports will only cement the idea that "pro-life" people don’t care about the children after birth or about their mothers. The Democratic Party’s efforts to move away from the goal of making abortion “safe, legal, and rare” – the goal set by President Clinton – along with an increased effort to exclude pro-life Democrats from the party, are only playing into the Republicans’ hands to reduce the effectiveness of the Democrats’ ability to protect both women and children.