by Steven Ertelt
March 13, 2006
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — A Mississippi House member who chairs a key legislative panel says he doesn’t the state Senate to make wholesale changes to a proposed ban on most all abortions because he worries it would be defeated.
Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat who heads the House Public Health Committee, told the Associated Press the bill may die if the Senate alters it because of the intense debate that occurred in the House when it went through the chamber the first time.
The House approved the abortion ban but had a terse debate on adding exceptions for rape and incest. Backed by Gov. Haley Barbour, the exceptions were eventually approved.
The Senate earlier approved its own version of the bill and Senate Public Health chairman Alan Nunnelee, a Republican, said he may send both bills to a conference committee to iron out the differences.
According to an AP report, Holland told a lunch forum at Mississippi State University that, should the bill go to conference he is "99.9 percent sure" that he won’t bring the bill up for a vote in the House because he’s certain it would be defeated.
The House approved the measure on a 94-25 vote but the contentious vote for the rape and incest exceptions were approved only on a 62-56 margin.
During the debate, some worried that the amendments would threaten the legislation altogether.
"Realize what we have before us," Republican Rep. Eric Robinson said. "How many millions of souls are crying out because of this hideous practice called abortion?"
Susan Hill, president of the National Women’s Health Organization, an out-of-state business that runs the only abortion facility in the state, promised to challenge the abortion ban in court. It does about 3,000 abortions each year.
"We will challenge it," she told the Clarion Ledger newspaper. "We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to keep open."
Terri Herring, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, was disappointed with adding the rape and incest exceptions.
"We were disappointed that the rape and incest exceptions were added," Herring told the newspaper. "I think it’s our responsibility to have a pure Pro-Life message that has to be you don’t kill a child for the crime of his father."
Herring said 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.
Barbour previously said he would sign the abortion ban but wanted the additional exceptions.
"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 Mississippi measure comes just after South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signed an abortion ban there that has only the life of the mother exception.
Related web sites:
Pro-Life Mississippi – https://www.prolifemississippi.org