John Bel Edwards announced today that he would never seek the Democratic presidential nomination. The governor of Louisiana also announced that he would face a primary fight in his next election from progressive activists.
Well, okay, Bel Edwards actually told a reporter that he would sign a bill restricting abortion on the basis of a fetal heartbeat, assuming it gets to his desk. Everyone — especially Bel Edwards — knows what that really means:
The governor of Louisiana – a Catholic Democrat – says he will sign a bill banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, if the legislation arrives on his desk.
“My inclination is to sign it,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards, according to the Monroe News Star.
“It’s consistent with my unblemished pro-life record in my years as a legislator and governor,” he said earlier this month.
Last year, Edwards signed a bill to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The governor has cited his Catholic faith as influencing his pro-life beliefs.
Unless the Democratic Party has a massive conversion experience in the next year or two, this is essentially Bel Edwards’ retirement announcement. The direction of the party has not just been moving away from pro-life positions, it has been positively a sprint. The big debate in Democratic circles isn’t about restricting abortion to some objective stage of obvious life, but to remove restrictions right up to the point of birth — and sometimes even beyond that.
Activists are already geared up to attack Republicans in the South for pushing abortion-restriction laws of this sort. The party cannot abide a dissenting voice within its confines as it attempts to demonize pro-lifers in Georgia, Alabama, Missouri, and now Louisiana. They will need to make an example of Bel Edwards pour encourager les pro-life autres who still affiliate with Democrats. It’s perfectly fine to have those beliefs, Democrats have made clear, as long as they don’t act on them — or even speak of them.
In fact, NBC’s Today highlighted New Orleans as part of the “stop the ban” rally movement, thanks to the bill Bel Edwards conditionally endorsed:
Protests are growing after more than 30 states are now rolling out or considering stricter abortion laws.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 22, 2019
If you expected a balanced look at the issue … too bad. There’s no mention, for instance, of polling such as today’s Morning Consult that shows more people opposing abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and life-threatening physical conditions (31%) than support it up to “viability” (25%). When the hardline positions of total legality/total illegality are added, the split is 47/42 in favor of abortion — a nearly even split. And yet the pro-life position gets all of about ten seconds in Today’s segment.
You’d never know it from the media coverage, but Bel Edwards is solidly in the mainstream. It’s the rest of his fellow Democrats who have gotten extreme.