What we know for sure is that the majority of Louisiana citizens are pro-life, and that’s not something limited to the state’s Republican voters. Democrats in Louisiana aren’t big fans of abortion, either – something which is easily seen by the fact that pro-life legislation at the state capitol is quite often brought be Democrat legislators. The two major anti-abortion bills in this year’s session, for example, are authored by Rep. Katrina Jackson and Sen. John Milkovich, both of whom are Democrats not seen to be switching parties any time soon.
And Louisiana’s governor John Bel Edwards ran on a pro-life platform in 2015 – he literally put out a TV ad in which he offered as proof of his pro-life stance the fact he wouldn’t let his wife abort their kids. Seriously.
That’s all fine and well and good, but now that Edwards is running for re-election and in all likelihood signing every pro-life bill coming across his desk this year he might find there’s a price to be paid for that stance.
For example, there is this…
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, slated to head the Democratic Governors Association in January, refused to say if he’ll support Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Louisiana and Mississippi who support abortion restrictions and oppose gun control.
Murphy on Tuesday sidestepped a question on whether he would endorse Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards for re-election or other Southern Democratic candidates who do not share his views on abortion and guns.
“It’s a question that I’ve not gotten, and I’m the incoming chair but not yet the chair, and I think the DGA, like a lot of institutions, makes an institutional selection as opposed to a particular personal preference, but folks have no question where I am on this issue,” said Murphy, the current DGA vice chairman.
Though Murphy and other Democrats in the northeast tend to hold similar pro-gun-control and pro-choice views, the same can’t be said of all Democrats in the country.
Do we really believe the DGA will sit out Edwards’ re-election effort if he signs those pro-life bills? Nah. But the friction this issue will cause is going to show up this fall. It’s inevitable.
And you can count on the Republican Party of Louisiana to pick at that scab. Just today there was a press release worth mentioning where the abortion issue is concerned…
While Governor John Bel Edwards attempts to appeal to conservative voters in an election year by pledging to sign pro-life legislation, his campaign is receiving financial support and resources from national organizations that are funded by pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.
The Democratic Governors Association (DGA), which spent millions to help elect Edwards in 2015, and already has paid staffers on the ground to help his re-election efforts, has accepted $570,780 in contributions from Planned Parenthood Action Fund from 2015-2018.
Both Planned Parenthood and the DGA are actively campaigning against pro-life legislation across the country. Earlier this month, the DGA sent out an email opening with: “Friends, abortion rights are under attack in the states,” and recently tweeted that “attacks on women’s health care prove that the threat to women’s reproductive rights is real and present,” referencing legislation similar to Louisiana’s.
Leading national Democrats, including Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez and 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand, have called on the party to be “100 percent pro-choice.”
“Professional politician John Bel Edwards is trying to have it both ways. While he claims to be pro-life, his campaign machine is running on cash from groups funded by Planned Parenthood,” said LAGOP Communications Director Jason Harbison. “This year, the people of Louisiana will have the opportunity to elect a strong, pro-life governor who doesn’t have to beg for money from the abortion lobby.”
The state GOP is calling the DGA’s money tainted by Planned Parenthood and demanding Edwards repudiate it. Whether the state’s voters are persuaded that’s a fair argument or not, the point is likely to resonate that Edwards is essentially Pro-Life Lite compared to a Ralph Abraham or Eddie Rispone, who would be a lot more reliable on the issue.
And while Edwards has never stopped paying lip service to the pro-life stance, he can’t really be much more than Pro-Life Lite due to the DGA and the national Democrat Party’s “100 percent pro-choice” stance. That’s why, for example, Louisiana has a “pro-life” governor who wouldn’t denounce Virginia’s governor Ralph Northam for his comments favoring infanticide (Northam had raised Edwards $100,000 last year), or who won’t lift a finger to defend the state’s admitting-privileges law from constitutional attack – Attorney General Jeff Landry is doing that on his own.
If Edwards were any more demonstrative in walking the walk as a pro-life governor he really might find himself disowned by the national party. Or worse, he might even gin up an opponent from the left with abortion as the key issue.
It would be no surprise if, for example, there were to be a hard-core pro-abortion Democrat get into the governor’s race as a single-issue candidate trashing Edwards for signing the anti-abortion bills. That opponent probably wouldn’t garner a whole lot of support, but then again you never know what might trail in a flood of small donations from left-wingers across the country. And a minor Democrat candidate who can pull five percent of the vote in the October primary could kill Edwards’ chances of winning re-election in October – throwing him into a head-to-head race with an Abraham or Rispone carrying the united support of the state’s Republican voters.
Abortion turns out to be a good wedge issue for the GOP in this race. Don’t be surprised if it’s continuously brought up in order to force Edwards to tout his pro-life bona fides and potentially alienate a sizable chunk of his base.