Mississippi Governor Likely to Sign Abortion Trigger Law, Pro-Life Group Happy
by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2007
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is likely going to be signing an abortion trigger law that would prohibit abortions in the Southern state should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Meanwhile, groups on both sides of the abortion debate have responded to the legislature approving the bill.
Barbour will likely sign the bill, spokesman Pete Smith told the Clarion Ledger newspaper, "However, he will need to review the bill first."
Last legislative session, Mississippi lawmakers almost got a full-fledged abortion ban to him but the House and Senate couldn’t agree on the final bill.
At that time, Barbour said he would sign the ban as long as it had exceptions to save the life of the mother and in cases of rape or incest.
Under the trigger ban bill, the only cases of abortion that would be allowed after Roe is when the abortion directly threatens the life of the mother and in cases of rape. The bill doesn’t have an incest exception but legislators said it would be covered under the definition of rape.
Tanya Britton, president of Pro-Life Mississippi, told the newspaper her group was happy the legislature approved the bill. She said she preferred the direct abortion ban but supported this measure too.
"Pro-life people realize we’re not going to legislate abortion away. If this positions the state in the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned, abortion is outlawed, then fine," Britton said.
But, Tom Head, secretary of Mississippi National Organization for Women, said he was disappointed by the vote.
"The bill is not as problematic as the original Senate proposal, but it is still an unfortunate piece of legislation," he told the Clarion Ledger. He also claimed the bill made it so lawmakers didn’t spend enough time addressing post-Katrina issues.
Anyone who would do an illegal abortion if the law goes into effect would be sentenced to as much as 10 years in prison.
Another part of the bill would become law on July 1 and it requires abortion practitioners to allow women considering an abortion to view an ultrasound beforehand. Studies show that most women decide not to have an abortion after seeing the high-tech images of their unborn child.
A final section of the legislation tightens the requirements for when a teenager can have an abortion. The state already has a parental consent law that disallows teens having abortions unless their parents sign off on it and the new provisions would decrease the number of waivers granted.
No legislator stood up against the bill when the House debated it and it passed there on a 95-16 margin.
Mississippi has approved several pro-life laws over the years that have lowered the number of abortions from a high of 4,325 per year in 1997 to 3,041 in 2005. The state has just one abortion business, which is located in Jackson.