by Steven Ertelt
March 1, 2006
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Following on the heels of the South Dakota legislature, a Mississippi state House committee changed a pro-life bill to help women avoid abortions and amended it to ban abortions with the exception of saving the mother’s life.
The committee approved the measure on Tuesday and now it heads to the Mississippi House for a debate and vote. It comes a week after South Dakota lawmakers banned abortion.
The amendment came in a surprise move on Tuesday afternoon. The House Public Health and Human Services Committee changed SB 2922 and inserted the abortion ban.
The measure originally required abortion practitioners to allow women considering an abortion to see an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand. Many women change their minds after doing so and seek abortion alternatives.
Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, said residents of her state would love to ban abortions.
"The pro-life community in Mississippi would love to be the first state to end abortions in the United States," she told the Clarion Legder newspaper.
However, she worried the Supreme Court doesn’t have the votes necessary to uphold an abortion ban and said that the ultrasound bill would have helped stopped abortions immediately, unlike the abortion ban which will be tied up in courts for years.
"We don’t know that the current Supreme Court is up to meet the challenge of overturning Roe v. Wade," she explained.
"To have a law in the courts would, in effect, not make any substantive change in Mississippi’s abortion practices," Herring added.
Like South Dakota, Mississippi has just one abortion business. Located in Jackson, it does about 3,000 abortions annually.
Susan Hill, president of the North-Carolina-based National Women’s Health Organization, which owns the abortion center, told the Jackson newspaper she thinks the bill is simply election year pandering. She also condemned lawmakers for excluding rape and incest exceptions.
The committee approved the abortion ban on a 19-4 vote.