Mr. Edwards has long opposed abortion rights, and his 2015 campaign was lifted by an advertisement in which his wife recalled the family’s decision to reject a doctor’s recommendation that she have an abortion because the child would be born with spina bifida.
“My position hasn’t changed: In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator, 100 percent with the Louisiana Right to Life,” Mr. Edwards said recently. “When I ran for governor, I said that I was pro-life, and so that’s something that’s consistent.”
Louisianans, Mr. Edwards argued, were “overwhelmingly pro-life,” and government records show that the number of abortions in the state has been declining. The State Department of Health said there were 8,084 abortions performed in Louisiana last year, down from 9,311 in 2015, the year Mr. Edwards was elected governor.
The Louisiana measure is not expected to take effect soon, even if Mr. Edwards swiftly signs it into law. Under the proposal, the Louisiana restriction would not be enforceable until a federal appellate court rules on a similar law that Mississippi passed in March.
On Friday, a Federal District Court judge temporarily blocked the Mississippi law, which was to take effect on July 1. The judge, Carlton W. Reeves, wrote that the law “prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”
“This injury outweighs any interest the State might have in banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat,” the judge wrote. A delay in the law’s enforcement, the judge added, “will serve the public interest by protecting this established right and the rule of law.”
Opponents have condemned bills like Louisiana’s, which effectively outlaw abortion at six weeks, as wastes of time that run counter to decades of court rulings. Before Friday’s injunction in Mississippi, courts previously restricted similar measures in Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa and North Dakota. The current constitutional standard, set out in Roe v. Wade, is that abortion is legal up to the point when the fetus could survive outside the womb — usually about 24 weeks.