by Steven Ertelt
March 22, 2007
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour signed a bill on Thursday that would prohibit abortions in the state should the Supreme Court ever overturn Roe v. Wade. The bill would also require abortion businesses there to allow women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound beforehand.
Under the trigger law, the only cases of abortion that would be allowed after Roe is reversed would be when the abortion directly threatens the life of the mother and in cases of rape.
The bill doesn’t have an incest exception but legislators said it would be covered under the definition of rape.
Anyone who would do an illegal abortion if the law goes into effect would be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison.
Another part of the bill would become law on July 1 and it requires abortion practitioners to allow women considering an abortion to view an ultrasound beforehand. Studies show that most women decide not to have an abortion after seeing the high-tech images of their unborn child.
Mary Spaulding Balch, an attorney for National Right to Life who addresses state legislation, said she was delighted to see Mississippi become the eighth state to enact legislation relating to ultrasounds and abortion.
She said it reflects a growing national trend in which states are increasingly providing women with the full range of information possible before they make the life and death decision of abortion.
"We commend Governor Haley Barbour for supporting women and their unborn children by signing this bill into law," she told LifeNews.com in a statement.
"History shows that if women are given the opportunity to review all of the facts about abortion, the development of their unborn child, and available alternatives, they are less likely to have an abortion," Balch added.
Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin all have laws that provide women the opportunity to review ultrasound footage before having an abortion.
One state, Idaho, also has an ultrasound bill currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. And, earlier this week, one house in each of the legislatures in South Carolina and Georgia overwhelmingly passed ultrasound legislation.
A final section of the legislation tightens the requirements for when a teenager can have an abortion. The state already has a parental consent law that disallows teens having abortions unless their parents sign off on it and the new provisions would decrease the number of waivers granted.
No legislator stood up against the bill when the House debated it and it passed there on a 95-16 margin.
Mississippi has approved several pro-life laws over the years that have lowered the number of abortions from a high of 4,325 per year in 1997 to 3,041 in 2005. The state has just one abortion business, which is located in Jackson.