Louisiana Congressional Candidate Gives Birth in New Campaign Ad Attacking Abortion Ban

Democratic candidate for Congress Katie Darling’s new campaign ad contains video footage of her giving birth. | Photo Credit: Katie Darling Campaign

Louisiana congressional candidate Katie Darling released a new campaign ad this week attacking Louisiana’s near-total abortion ban. The ad contains footage of Darling giving birth – and has made headlines across the nation.

Darling is running against U.S. Rep. Steve Scalie, a staunchly pro-life politician currently serving as the representative of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional district, which includes Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes along with portions of Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne parishes. Among the issues she addresses in the ad are climate change, Louisiana’s public education system, and the state’s near-total abortion ban.

“We should be putting pregnant women at ease, not putting their lives at risk,” Darling says in the ad, which shows footage of her driving to the hospital, laboring in bed, and her newborn son being placed on her chest for the first time. In an interview, Darling told New Orleans Public Radio that she wanted to show the process of giving birth as a way to highlight “how vulnerable you are, how sensitive it is.”

“I had a high-risk pregnancy, and I was scared of what could happen to me if I had a complication,” Darling said. “The moment is so important that we gather our energy and do something about this right now, that we fight right now to regain our reproductive rights.”

Scalise has repeatedly been a co-sponsor of federal “personhood” bills that would have specified that life begins at fertilization, and would have made having an abortion carry a murder charge. There were also expansive repercussions for fertility treatments and birth control. He was vocally supportive of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade earlier this year.

Louisiana currently has one of the strictest abortion bans in the country. Although the law allows exceptions for substantial risk to the life of the pregnant person, and for unviable pregnancies, in practice, it is much more complicated. Earlier this month, the law made national headlines as a woman carrying an unviable fetus was forced to travel to New York to end her pregnancy.

Nancy Davis, 36, of Baton Rouge, was pregnant with a fetus diagnosed with acrania – the lack of a skull – that would have not survived outside the womb. Acrania is not one of the conditions explicitly included in Louisiana’s abortion ban, so officials at the hospital refused to give Davis an abortion, fearing that they could lose their license to practice, face fines, or even be sent to jail should they perform the procedure.

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