In a bi-partisan vote of the State House of Representatives and State Senate, Louisiana has once again joined the race to the bottom by passing a heartbeat abortion ban bill. Governor John Bel Edwards a democrat has signed the bill into law, disappointing the vast majority of his core base of supporters. Let me be crystal clear, this vote does not make Louisiana pro-life, it simply means we are pro-birth.
Governor Edwards released a statement expressing how he has always been pro-life, and not pro-birth. In my generation we have a quote that says, “what’s understood, doesn’t need to be said,” The reality is, banning abortion in a state that ranks dead last in the nation of all 50 states proves our state isn’t valuing life much. Our regressive legislature, and the generation of leaders who believe they should determine for others what is right or wrong for their lives is proof of that.
Our healthcare system ranks 45th of 50 states. Our education system ranks 48th of 50 states. Our economy ranks 49th of 50 states. Our infrastructure ranks 48th out of 50 states. In opportunity we rank 50 out of 50 states. In fiscal stability we rank 43 out of 50 states. In crime and corrections we rank 50 out of 50 states. And in natural environment we rank 50 out of 50 states. Why? Because we continue to allow republican policies to run this state into the ground. If we are a pro-life state, then why are we failing in every metric that proves the type of life a person can live in the borders of our state?
The truth is, the same legislature that voted to ban abortion, also doesn’t believe a woman should earn the same wage as a man for the same work. This same legislature fails to improve the quality of our schools, healthcare system, infrastructure, or damn near anything. Yet, our governor and legislators want us to re-elect them for 4 more years in October. We suck. Period. Because we allow opinions to shape policy rather than facts.
It is a fact, that 7 of the top 10 states in the nation have a democratic majority in their state legislatures. Seven out of ten people. Not half, but more than half of the top ten states have progressive policies. Yet we allow talking points about morality to shape policy in this state.
If Louisiana was a moral pro-life state, we wouldn’t allow the death penalty. Yet we do. If Louisiana was a pro-life state, residents of North Baton Rouge would have a hospital in their community to provide for the 200,000 plus residents of that region of the parish. If Louisiana was a pro-life state, we would invest more per child in education than we do per person in our prison system. If Louisiana was indeed a pro-life state, the quality of life for the residents of this state would be the top priority of our legislature and not the decision making of women and their bodies. If Louisiana was pro-life, then the life of Alton Sterling, Victor White, Jordan Frazier, Armando Frank, DeJuan Guillory, and Lamar Johnson would have seen some form of justice when police unjustly killed each of these men. If we were a pro-life state we would address these issues FIRST. Yet we fail every time to do the work of inclusion, equity, and progress for all people.
There has always been this false narrative that being pro-life is about faith and morality. How does a state, that ranks last in nearly every category to measure quality of life begin to say it is moral? It is immoral that our children attend some of the worst schools in the nation. Yet that is our reality, that we would force women to bring into this world a child our society refuses to provide a quality life for.
More importantly, Jesus never forced us to be Christians, yet Christians try to force their faith into policy. Being a believer is a choice we make. Therefor if we in anyway overstep a persons own will, we abandon the foundation of our faith. America is not more moral, because we restrict a woman’s right to choose. We become less like Christ when we decide for someone else what is acceptable for them. If we were like Christ, who took two fish and five loafs of bread to feed 5000, we would recognize the need for government to provide for all of its people rather than tell them the interest of petrochemical companies matter more than the quality of air residents around our state breathe.
Louisiana isn’t any more pro-life than we were the day before the bill was voted on or signed, we just showed people again why we rank last. The state of Washington is ranked number 1 in the nation. They have one of the most progressive legislatures in the country, majority democrats, and they are coming up with new ideas and solutions to problems. That is the job of government, to aid and assist in the progress of all people.
A woman’s right to choose is no business of the government, especially when that same government will fail the child the woman is being forced to birth in every area from education, to healthcare, to a failed criminal justice system, and a weak economy. We rank dead last in the nation, yet some how forcing women to have children makes us better? I think not. If we want to decrease abortions, we should focus on increasing the income, quality of life, healthcare, and education system of our state so all people see what progress and prosperity looks like. We should prioritize justice, including reproductive justice for all women. When we do those things, we become pro-life.
Until then, we are just pro-birth and we will continue to rank dead last and lose people to cities and states where people can really experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I hope voters in this state remember the names of every legislator who voted in favor of restricting liberty on election day this year, October 12, 2019. Send them home, and elect leaders who will send our ranking up from the bottom of the list. Days like this are disappointing, but we can do something to change our reality, vote.