Now, daughter Samantha is married and working as a school counselor, and Edwards finds himself an outlier in polarized abortion politics.
“My position hasn’t changed. In eight years in the Legislature, I was a pro-life legislator,” he said. When he ran for governor, his view was the same. “I’m as consistent as I can be on that point.”
Edwards, who has repeatedly bucked national party leaders on abortion rights, is about to do it again. He’s ready to sign legislation that would ban the procedure as early as six weeks of pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant, when the bill reaches his desk.
But the abortion bans in those other conservative states — spurred by anti-abortion activists hoping the addition of conservative judges to the Supreme Court could help overturn Roe v. Wade — were backed by Republican governors.
A rarity in his party, Edwards’ anti-abortion stance provokes angry outcries on social media from Democratic voters and disappointment within the party’s broader ranks across the country.
The abortion-rights debates that divide state Capitols across the nation cause few ripples in the
This year’s so-called heartbeat bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen.
“It gives a very small window for a woman to be able to access abortion services,” said
Edwards’ embrace of the anti-abortion legislation is unusual for a present-day Democratic governor, Nash said, although that was not always the case.
“If you think back 20 years, abortion politics were less along party lines,” she said. “There were moderate
Edwards said his views are in line with the people of his conservative, religious state, who he described as “overwhelmingly pro-life.” And he said he extends that philosophy to his decision to expand
“That’s the way I was raised. That’s what my Catholic Christian faith requires,” the governor said on his monthly radio show. “I know that for many in the national party, on the national scene, that’s not a good fit. But I will tell you, here in
When he ran for governor in 2015, Edwards made opposition to abortion a central platform of his campaign. In a TV ad, his wife, Donna, described being advised to have an abortion because of their daughter’s spinal birth defect. The ad showed a grown-up Samantha as
Four years later, as Edwards runs for a second term, his two major Republican challengers —
But that narrative is tough to make stick against a governor who repeatedly signs abortion restrictions, along with data released in March that showed the number of abortions in
“This is not an easy issue to pigeonhole people — or especially me — on, at least, because I don’t think the labels really work,” Edwards said.
Associated Press Writer