Mississippi Governor Signs Several Pro-Life Bills Into Law
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
May 8, 2004
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — In a ceremony Wednesday, Governor Haley Barbour (R) signed six of the eight pro-life bills that had been introduced in the Mississippi legislature this session. Although some of the laws had been signed earlier, Barbour signed them again at the ceremony and gave the pens to those who had worked for the bills.
"Protecting innocent life is not partisan. It’s not about politics. It’s about doing what’s right," said Barbour.
For pro-life advocates, Wednesday’s ceremony was indeed a time to celebrate.
"This year’s legislation provides protection for the unborn, their mothers and the medical providers who refuse to participate in an abortion," said Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi.
"The voice of the people was finally heard loud and clear," Herring said. "From the election of pro-life candidates, to participation with letters, phone calls and e-mails, it was made very clear that Mississippians wanted protection for the ‘least of these our brethren.’ We had more cooperation this year than any other time we have lobbied. It was incredible."
Among the bills was a Fetal Homicide Bill (SB 2869) similar to Laci and Conner’s law that was passed and signed into law earlier this year on a federal level. Mississippi had passed a similar law in 1994, but it only protected unborn children that would have been able to survive outside the womb. There are now 17 states that offer such protection from the moment of conception, and twelve that protect only those considered viable.
Other legislation signed into law included
* a bill allowing for prosecution of wrongful death in the unintentional killing of an unborn child (HB 352);
* the Child Born Alive Law (HB 1612) which protects children who survive an attempted abortion, and requires those not expected to survive to receive humane treatment;
* a law that allows medical personnel to opt out of participating in an abortion procedure (SB 2619), including medical students and pharmacists;
* the Abortion Complication Reporting Law (HB 1525) that requires the reporting of medical complication following an abortion; and a law that requires any abortion after 13 weeks gestation to be performed at an ambulatory surgical facility or hospital (HB 1038).
The two pro-life measures that failed were the Cloning Bill, a human cloning ban which died in committee, and the Adoption Tax Credit, which passed in the Senate but did not make it out of the House committee.
Despite having had such a productive session, Herring acknowledged that there is still much to accomplish.
"Our goal is to continue to provide as much legal protection for the unborn as possible under the current Supreme Court restrictions, until such a time as we can end legal abortion. Our hope is that abortion would end in our lifetime," said Herring.
"We will continue to confront the culture of death that is so prevalent in our society, by speaking the truth and exposing the lies regarding the use of abortion as a means of birth control," Herring concluded.