Mississippi Lawmakers Still Working on Final Abortion Ban Language

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mississippi Lawmakers Still Working on Final Abortion Ban Language Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 22, 2006

Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi lawmakers are still working to craft the final version of a statewide abortion ban to send to Republican Governor Haley Barbour to sign. They’re preparing for a potential court battle by tightening language and including information about how abortion adversely affects women.

House and Senate leaders plan to invite women like Kim Slade to the legislature to testify about their painful abortion experiences and how they regret their decisions.

"Anything we can do while the bill is still in the legislature that will help make a case as it moves through the courts is wise for us to do," Senate Health Committee Chairman Sen. Alan Nunnelee told WLBT-TV.

Slade had an abortion 13 years ago and she told the television station she had physical complications and still feels the psychological pain of the abortion.

"It’s a hole that never goes away in your heart. It’s a child that you can never hold here, and you never forget the pain of that," she said.

"There are so many babies smiling right now and so many mammas smiling right now to get this done because it’s so important," Slade told WLBT.

State legislators must finalize the bill by Monday. Currently it bans all abortions except in very rare instances to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest.

Nsombi Lambright, president of the Mississippi ACLU said "legislature would make a big mistake passing this bill" and her group may consider filing a lawsuit against the ban if it reaches Barbour and he signs it.

Susan Hill, president of the National Women’s Health Organization, which runs the state’s only abortion business, located in Jackson, promised to file suit. The abortion center performs just over 3,000 abortions annually.

"We will challenge it," she told the Clarion Ledger newspaper. "We’re not going anywhere. We’re going to keep open."

Last week, Nunnelee indicated he wanted to restore Senate-approved language requiring an ultrasound to be performed before an abortion can be performed. He said the bill should go to a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the ban.

Officials from Pro-Life Mississippi say they prefer the ultrasound requirement because the Supreme Court is still, at minimum, 5-4 in favor of abortion and they worry the ban will just be overturned in court. They say the ultrasound bill could stop abortions now while pro-life advocates wait for another pro-life nominee to the high court.

Nunnelee also wants to make sure current state laws limiting abortions are not overturned while the abortion ban is tied up in court.

"This outright ban has been put right in the middle of Mississippi’s informed consent statute," he said. "There’s very high likelihood that the two items would be challenged in court."

However, House Public Health Committee Chairman Steve Holland, a Democrat, told AP he’s not sure the House will approve a finalized version of the measure.

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.

It backed 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.

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