We’ve covered, a number of times, the fact that despite his advertised “pro-life” position on abortion John Bel Edwards’ actions in the Louisiana governor’s mansion make him a fraud on the issue.
After all, Edwards committed not one red cent to the defense of Louisiana’s admitting-privileges abortion law in the June Medical case which went all the way to the Supreme Court.
And Edwards took $100,000 in campaign cash from Virginia’s disgusting governor Ralph Northam, then failed to condemn Northam’s comments essentially supporting infanticide. When outrage over those comments led one of Northam’s medical-school classmates to out him by releasing a photo in the school’s yearbook which depicted Northam in blackface at a party, only then did Edwards suggest Northam resign over the latter – but not the infanticide support.
Not to mention Edwards came down harder on dentists and nail salons with his COVID-19 shutdowns than he did on abortion clinics. Or that he appointed someone who was an actual Planned Parenthood executive to run the Louisiana Department of Health as one of his first hires.
The defense for John Bel Edwards as Louisiana’s “pro-life Democrat” governor is that he’s signed a bunch of pro-life bills, every one of which has been passed with legislative majorities large enough to override his veto.
In other words, what John Bel Edwards supports is the appearance of pro-life, so as to placate and bamboozle the rubes. When the rubber meets the road he’s nowhere to be found on the pro-life side.
It’s a shame the state’s pro-life advocacy groups didn’t call him out as such when he ran for re-election. That could have made the difference in giving Louisiana a real pro-life governor.
Had that happened, we wouldn’t see what we’re seeing with HB 578, a bill by Rep. Beryl Amedee which has presented one of these “rubber-meets-the-road” moments for the abortion issue.
Not to delve too deeply in the weeds here, but the RU-486 “abortion pill” is actually two pills which induce a chemical abortion. The first pill is mifepristone, which binds itself to progesterone receptors in the uterine wall. What that does is prevent progesterone, a hormone naturally secreted by a woman’s body, from maintaining the uterine lining through which nutrients flow to a fetus. Then the second pill, misoprostol, induces uterine contractions which will result in expelling the now-dead fetus. That pill is taken two days later.
There is a procedure which has been developed by doctors to save the fetus in cases where a woman changes her mind following her taking mifepristone. It involves an injection of progesterone, essentially bathing the uterus in it and allowing a rush of nutrients to the fetus. The evidence the procedure works is largely anecdotal, but its defenders say it can save two babies in three under these circumstances. Progesterone is commonly used as a treatment to prevent miscarriages. It’s a safe natural potential remedy which doesn’t do any harm even if it can’t save a fetus following ingestion of mifepristone.
As such, a number of states have passed informed-consent laws in which patients are to be notified that after the first pill if they change their mind about the abortion there is the option of perhaps saving the fetus. That’s what Amedee’s bill does.
We mentioned Edwards’ appointment of Rebekah Gee, a pretty activist pro-abortion figure, as his head of the Louisiana Department of Health. Prompted by the Louisiana legislature back in 2017 on this subject, Gee’s department put out a report which essentially trashed abortion reversals by saying that there was “insufficient evidence” to indicate how effective the procedure would be.
That was used as evidence to attack proposed legislation in other states, but it hasn’t stopped the pro-life movement from attempting to offer the progesterone option to women who have regrets about taking mifepristone. Just this year, for example, Indiana overwhelmingly passed a bill just like the one Amedee is bringing – which naturally has resulted in a lawsuit by the abortion industry. At least nine states already have this law.
So the battle lines here are pretty clearly drawn. Edwards was already on the wrong side of this one thanks to his having Gee trash the abortion reversal procedure four years ago.
Amedee’s bill sailed through the Louisiana House of Representatives easily, passing with a 71-27 margin. That’s enough to override a veto. That vote happened on May 12, almost two weeks ago.
And yet the Senate Health and Welfare Committee hasn’t taken up the bill. That committee has had the bill since May 17. Eight days, and nothing.
Senate Health and Welfare meets tomorrow. HB 578 isn’t on the agenda.
Fred Mills chairs that committee. Mills is a significant ally of Senate President Page Cortez.
Why does this matter? Because ask around at the Capitol and they’ll tell you Page Cortez does absolutely nothing that John Bel Edwards and his staffers on the Fourth Floor of the State Capitol are uncomfortable with. And our sources tell us Edwards is putting all the pressure he can on Cortez and Mills not to let that bill out of Senate Health and Welfare.
Why? Because if it gets out to the Senate floor it’s going to have a veto-proof majority for passage. And if it was heard tomorrow in Mills’ committee it would get to the Senate floor before May 31, which is essentially the deadline to pass bills and send them to Edwards’ desk while having enough time to override a veto before this legislative session ends.
What’s going to happen is that Amedee’s bill will get heard next week in Senate Health and Welfare, and it’ll get out to the Senate floor then.
And Cortez will either sit on it until the session ends or he’ll call it for a vote, pass it and let Edwards kill it with a veto.
Everybody at the Capitol knows this is what will happen. It’s what’s happening with all the bills on core conservative issues in this session. Yesterday we had a post here at The Hayride talking about SB 156, which is Sen. Beth Mizell’s bill protecting girls’ sports from a transgender invasion. That bill is in the same situation as Amedee’s bill, with the houses reversed – it’s still sitting on the House calendar with no schedule for floor debate.
Bear in mind that this is the most heavily-Republican, supposedly-conservative legislature Louisiana has ever had, and it’s led by people who won’t move conservative legislation.
This ought to be a scandal. Instead it’s treated as business as usual at the Louisiana capitol.