May 30 (UPI) -- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards signed one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills into law, essentially banning the procedure after the sixth week of pregnancy.
He gave his approval one day after the Louisiana House voted 79-23 in favor of it. It bans all abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected and offers no exceptions for incest or rape.
Edwards, a Democrat, indicated Wednesday he would support the bill.
"I know there are many who feel just as strongly as I do on abortion and disagree with me -- and I respect their opinions," Edwards said. "As I prepare to sign this bill, I call on the overwhelming bipartisan majority of legislators who voted for it to join me in continuing to build a better Louisiana that cares for the least among us and provides more opportunity for everyone."
The Louisiana legislature tied the bill to a similar law in Mississippi, which was blocked by a federal judge last week. The Louisiana law will go into effect if the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Mississippi law.
Louisiana's new law comes on the heels of a number of other states passing or considering similar laws to limit abortions. Alabama signed the most restrictive yet, a near-total ban on abortions unless the woman's life is at risk. There are no exceptions for rape or incest.
Legislatures in Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio passed so-called "heartbeat" bills, banning abortions after eight weeks, earlier this year.