La. governor laments lack of abortion access for rape victims, says emergency contraception protected

FILE - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a news conference in Baton Rouge, La., on...
FILE - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards speaks during a news conference in Baton Rouge, La., on Feb. 1, 2022.(AP Photo/Matthew Hinton, File)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 1:54 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has released a statement following the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

While the governor said he supports exceptions to the state’s abortion ban when it comes to victims of rape and incest, none of the bills he signed grant such exceptions.

As it stands, Louisiana’s trigger ban on abortions means the state government is now, immediately, telling Louisiana women, and even children, that get pregnant that they must carry the fetus to term. There are a few exceptions regarding the health of the mother and the viability of the embryo or fetus.

The governor released this Friday afternoon:

“I am and have always been unabashedly pro-life and opposed to abortion. However, I understand that people on both sides of this complex issue hold deeply personal beliefs, and I respect that not everyone, including many in my own party, agrees with my position.

While we are still reviewing the decision issued by the Court this morning, Louisiana has had a trigger law in place since 2006 that would outlaw abortion, without exception for rape and incest, should the United States Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

I asked the Legislature to include exceptions for rape and incest in the legislation most recently passed. While the bill that passed expanded the exceptions from the 2006 law to include instances of medical futility and treatment of ectopic pregnancies, these important exceptions were not included.

As I have said many times before, I believe women who are survivors of rape or incest should be able determine whether to continue with a pregnancy that is the result of a criminal act.

And, to be clear, the legislation I recently signed protects all forms of contraception, including emergency contraception, which remains fully legal and available in Louisiana.

Being pro-life means more than just being against abortion. It means providing the necessary resources and implementing policies that provide real options and not just lip service to the children, women, and families we are blessed to serve. Now more than ever, it’s critical that Louisiana funds services to support women, children, and families throughout their lives, which is why I have expanded health care through our Medicaid program and lobbied for measures to make sure workers are paid better and more fairly. It’s also why I’ve supported better funding for Louisiana’s public education system, including early childhood education. I believe all people should have the opportunity to succeed and that starts with providing a strong foundation early in life.

Make no mistake, there is much more that we can do to support women, children, and families, and I hope that my fellow pro-life public officials will join me in these efforts in the coming months and years.”

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