by Steven Ertelt
March 2, 2006
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, says he will sign a measure that bans virtually all abortions in the state should it make its way through the legislature and reach his desk. A state House committee approved the ban on a wide margin.
The measure would prohibit all abortions except in very rare cases when the life of the mother is in jeopardy. It does not allow exceptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest — something Barbour says he favors.
"It hasn’t gotten to my desk yet. When one gets there, we’ll find out, and I suspect I’ll sign it," Barbour told the Associated Press.
"But I would certainly rather it come to my desk with an exception for rape and incest. I think that’s consistent with the opinion of the vast majority of Mississippians and Americans," he added.
The measure is now headed to the full state House which is slated to hold a debate and vote on the measure next week. Speaker Billy McCoy, a Democrat, told AP he believes the measure will be approved and advance to the Senate.
Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, a pro-life Republican, says she hasn’t had a chance to read the text of the abortion ban but suspects the Senate will be supportive.
"I think this body will look very strongly on pro-life issues," Tuck, who runs the Senate, said.
Like abortion advocates in South Dakota, those in Mississippi say they would immediately file a lawsuit against the legislation should Barbour sign it into law.
Nsombi Lambright, executive director of the American Civil Liberties in Mississippi, told AP outside pro-abortion groups have contacted her about suing.
In committee the lawmakers turned a bill to help women avoid abortions by allowing them to view an ultrasound of their unborn child beforehand into an abortion ban.
Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, said residents of her state would love to ban abortions. 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."
The Mississippi measure comes just one week after South Dakota lawmakers gave final approval to the same kind of abortion ban there. Gov. Mike Rounds is expected to sign the legislation soon.
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.
Related web sites:
Pro-Life Mississippi – https://www.prolifemississippi.org