PHILADELPHIA - Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards received the Governor Casey Whole Life Leadership Award from the Democrats For Life of America (DFLA). The award, named after former Pennsylvania governor and pro-life advocate Robert Casey, was presented during a special reception at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia, Pa.

 “I am honored to receive this award and have great respect for Governor Casey’s legacy and for Democrats for Life of America,” said Gov. Edwards. “With respect to the core principles that guide the Democratic Party, we are constantly growing and evolving. We must reach out to the many pro-life Democrats in our party and include these voters in our platform. Life should be respected at every stage. Not only do I support policies that protect the unborn, but my first official act as governor was signing an executive order to expand Medicaid in Louisiana. Medicaid expansion is very much a pro-life policy that will save lives each year and is already improving access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Louisiana citizens."

DFLA is a national organization for pro-life Democrats. In the call for a “Big Tent Party” at the DNC, the DFLA released its report titled, “Make Room for Pro-Life Democrats and the Party Wins.” The DFLA’s mission is to encourage people committed to the common good to work together to protect human life at all of its stages.

"The future of the Democratic Party is at stake," said Kristen Day, executive director of DFLA. "And, John Bel Edwards shows that Democrats can gain victories in red states like Louisiana, if the party is willing to reverse course, listen to the voters and support pro-life candidates."

Pro-life legislation Governor Edwards supported in Louisiana’s regular legislative session this year includes the following Acts:

  • Act 97 – Creates a 72 hour waiting period for abortions.
  • Act 98 – Restricts who can perform elective abortions by changing qualifications of physicians authorized to do so.
  • Act 264 - Prohibits the dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortion procedure.
  • Act 304 – Prohibits entities that perform abortions from receiving public funding for any purpose.
  • Act 563 – Prohibits abortion based on genetic abnormality.
  • Act 593 - Prohibits donation of fetal tissue from an aborted fetus.

Additionally, in 2016, Louisiana became the 32nd state in the country – and the first in the Deep South – to expand Medicaid. To date, more than 250,000 Louisianans now have health care coverage that they did not have before. Seventy percent of those newly-insured are employed but were not able to afford health insurance without expansion.