How La. lawmakers voted on the fetal heartbeat bill

Louisiana State Capitol (Source: WAFB)
Louisiana State Capitol (Source: WAFB)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2019 at 7:27 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana’s new law outlawing abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, Senate Bill 184, made the state the fifth to pass such a bill.

The bill is viewed by many as a total ban on abortion, as fetal heartbeats are generally detected around the sixth week of pregnancy, before many women are aware they’re carrying a fetus.

The Louisiana Senate signaled strong bipartisan support in a 31 to 5 vote in favor of the “fetal heartbeat” bill, authored by Democratic Sen. John Milkovich of Shreveport. The vote happened Monday, May 6.

The House approved the bill, 79 to 23, Wednesday, May 29. No exceptions will be made for victims of rape or incest, although the bill does carry an exemption for women if their lives would be endangered by carrying the pregnancy to term.

Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, signed the bill into law Thursday, May 30.

Edwards issued the following statement ahead of the bill reaching his desk:

“In 2015, I ran for governor as a pro-life candidate after serving as a pro-life legislator for eight years. As governor, I have been true to my word and my beliefs on this issue. But it is also my sincere belief that being pro-life means more than just being pro-birth.

My first act as governor was to expand access to health care for working Louisianans. I have worked with Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature to expand investment in education and pass sweeping criminal justice reforms. For each of the last three years, my administration has set records for the number of children being adopted out of our foster care system. And despite fierce opposition, I’ve fought to ensure LGBT citizens are not discriminated against in the workplace, to raise the minimum wage, and to pay a woman the same as a man for doing the same job.

I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me – and I respect their opinions. As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone.”

WAFB reached out to each lawmaker, requesting they elaborate on their decision to either support or oppose the law. Some could not be reached for a statement by the time this story was published. Other lawmakers did not return our request for comment. Below, we’ve outlined how lawmakers voted on the bill. We’ve included statements from lawmakers who did respond to our request.

We will continue to reach out to lawmakers and update this story as we receive responses.

Senators who supported the bill:

  • John Alario
  • R. L. Bret Allain
  • Conrad Appel
  • Regina Barrow
  • Gerald Boudreaux
  • Norby Chabert
  • Dan Claitor
  • Page Cortez
  • Jack Donahue
  • Dale Erdey
  • Jim Fannin
  • Ryan Gatti
  • Bob Hensgens
  • Sharon Hewitt - “Babies with a heartbeat in a mother’s womb have no voice and deserve our protection. I am proud to support SB184 and will continue to fight for the rights of the unborn.”
  • Ronnie Johns
  • Eric LaFleur
  • Eddie J. Lambert
  • Gerald Long
  • Daniel Martiny
  • John Milkovich
  • Seator Fred Mills
  • Beth Mizell
  • Dan Morrish
  • Barrow Peacock
  • Neil Riser
  • John Smith
  • Gregory Tarver
  • Francis Thompson
  • Michael Walsworth
  • Rick Ward
  • Mack Bodi White - “I believe life begins at conception. Science confirms that. Knowing that we’re talking about a human life, not a clump of cells, I believe that life has basic human rights - expressly, the right to exist. Once that child has a heartbeat, it should be protected. I also believe that we as legislators should continue to push to make adoption more accessible as a positive choice for unplanned pregnancies. There are plenty of families who want to love these children.”

Senators who opposed the bill:

  • Wesley Bishop
  • Troy Carter
  • Yvonne Colomb
  • J.P. Morrell
  • Karen Carter Peterson

Senators who were absent from the vote:

  • Jay Luneau
  • Ed Price
  • Gary Smith

House Representatives who supported the bill:

  • Taylor F. Barras
  • Mark Abraham
  • Roy Daryl Adams
  • Beryl Amedee
  • John F. “Andy” Anders
  • James K. Armes
  • Tony Bacala
  • Larry Bagley
  • John A. Berthelot
  • Robert E. Billiot
  • Stuart J. Bishop
  • Ryan Bourriaque
  • Chad Brown
  • Terry R. Brown
  • Thomas Carmody
  • Robby Carter
  • Stephen F. Carter
  • Charles R. Chaney
  • Patrick Connick
  • Jean-Paul Coussan
  • Kenny R. Cox
  • Raymond J. Crews
  • Paula Davis
  • Phillip DeVillier
  • Mary DuBuisson
  • Stephen Dwight
  • Rick Edmonds
  • Julie Emerson
  • Reid Falconer
  • Franklin J. Foil
  • Raymond E. Garofalo
  • Jerry Gisclair
  • John E. Guinn
  • Lance Harris
  • Cameron Henry
  • Stephanie Hilferty
  • Dorothy Sue Hill
  • Valarie Hodges
  • Frank A. Hoffmann
  • Paul Hollis
  • Dodie Horton - “As the State Representative for District 9, my job is to represent the constituents of District 9. Their concerns and will come before my own. Thankfully, God blessed me with a District that is overwhelmingly pro-life and believes that life begins at conception. SB 184 gets us one step closer to the will of District 9. From a state government perspective, SB 184 brings more consistency to our laws. If we declare death when a heartbeat is no longer detected, why would we not consider life beginning when a heartbeat is detected? If a person murders a pregnant woman, that person is tried for double homicide. Again, the law is treating the baby in the womb as life. SB 184 did not outlaw abortions. It just prevents using an abortion to end what the state already and has always considered life. To some, their vote on SB 184 could have been to garner favor with certain groups ahead of re-election. To me, as an individual, it was a vote supporting my Christian faith. To me, as a Representative and as a part of this government, it was a vote representing the will of District 9 and bringing consistency to our state laws.”
  • Frank A. Howard
  • Mike Huval
  • Barry Ivey
  • Katrina R. Jackson
  • Mike Johnson
  • Robert A. Johnson
  • Sam Jones
  • Jeremy LaCombe
  • Nancy Landry
  • H. Bernard LeBas
  • Sherman Q. Mack
  • Tanner Magee
  • Jack McFarland
  • Wayne McMahen
  • Blake Miguez
  • Dustin Miller
  • Gregory A. Miller
  • Pat Moore
  • John c. “Jay” Morris
  • James “Jim”Morris
  • Stuart Moss
  • Nicholas Muscarello
  • J. Kevin Pearson
  • J. Rogers Pope
  • Stephen Pugh
  • Steve E. Pylant
  • Jerome Richard
  • Clay Schexnayder - “I voted in favor of SB 184 because I believe in pro-life.”
  • Alan Seabaugh
  • Joseph A. Stagni
  • John M. Stefanski
  • Julie Stokes
  • Kirk Talbot
  • Polly Thomas
  • Christopher Turner
  • Malinda White
  • Mark Wright
  • Jerome Zeringue

House Representatives who opposed the bill:

  • Neil C. Abramson
  • John H. Bagneris
  • Joseph Bouie
  • Ken Brass
  • Barbara Carpenter
  • Gary Carter
  • Roy Duplessis
  • A B Franklin
  • Randal L. Gaines
  • Cedric Glover
  • Jimmy Harris
  • Edward C. “Ted” James - In an interview with WAFB James challenged voters to not allow this one vote to influence their voting decisions. Instead he urged voters to support candidates based on a number of key issues that impact the state. James also pushed back on the narrative that abortion and reproductive rights are partisan issues. He described the law saying it is “not intentional in protecting victims.” James further said "the bill is unconstitutional. When [lawmakers] are sworn in, that’s the oath we take. Not including anything about rape or incest...I couldn’t support it in good conscious. Instead of chasing other states, I would like us to be intentional on passing legislation that raises our education and makes strides in addressing out aging infrastructure.
  • Patrick O. Jefferson
  • Sam Jenkins
  • Edmond Jordan
  • Terry Landry.
  • Ed Larvadain III
  • Walt Leger III
  • Rodney Lyons
  • C. Denise Marcelle
  • Joseph Marino
  • Vincent J. Pierre
  • Patricia Haynes Smith

House Representatives who were absent from the vote:

  • Christopher J. Leopold
  • Barbara M. Norton
  • Scott M. Simon

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