Asked about the bill now being considered, a spokeswoman for Mr Edwards said the governor “does not often think about legislation that hasn’t made it to his office”.
Although legislators in conservative states have introduced a barrage of measures intended to restrict access to abortion, including the potential for criminal charges against providers, prosecutions against those who perform abortions have divided anti-abortion activists.
While campaigning for president in 2016, Donald J. Trump received an immediate backlash after saying that patients seeking abortions should undergo “a form of punishment. He retracted his statements, saying later: “The woman is a victim in this case, as is life in her womb.”
Louisiana is one of about a dozen states that have what’s called a trigger law, which would quickly make abortion illegal if the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. The challenge to the Mississippi abortion law paved the way for the court to reconsider Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision establishing this right.
However, supporters of Louisiana’s new bill argue that the initiation law is not enough. If passed, the bill would immediately ban abortion in the state, even before the Supreme Court makes its final decision. The bill would also enable the legislature to ignore court rulings that it does not agree with.
“Louisiana has really defied federal law by legalizing medical marijuana,” said Danny McCormick, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the bill. “If more than 15 states can challenge the federal government over marijuana, we can do so to save the lives of innocent children.”
Critics said – and even some proponents acknowledged – that the legislation, if passed, would likely be thwarted by the courts. However, critics argued that the bill was reckless and would have devastating effects.
“It sets a precedent that could undermine our system of government,” Gwyneth O’Neill, a lawyer who spoke against the bill, said during Wednesday’s hearing. “This bill is blatantly unconstitutional in many respects.”