Mississippi Senate Cmte Passes One Pro-Life Bill, Kills Two

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 3, 2012   |   6:14PM   |   Jackson, MS

A Mississippi state Senate committee passed one pro-life bill today but killed two others. The Mississippi Senate Public Health Committee passed a bill to require abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case a botched abortion requires a woman to be immediately hospitalized.

House Bill 1390 advances to the full Senate even though abortion backers worry it could close the one abortion business in the state if its abortion practitioners can’t get such privileges.

AP indicates two other measures died in the panel:

Senate Judiciary B Committee Chairman Hob Bryan says he chose not to bring them up for consideration because he believes they’d be challenged in court. House Bill 1196 would’ve prohibited abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, unless the woman’s health is at risk. House Bill 790 would’ve regulated the use of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 by requiring the prescribing physician to be in the room when the woman takes it.

The Washington Examiner has more:

House Bill 1196 would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, unless the woman’s health is at risk. Bryan said he questions whether the bill is constitutional under Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that established the nationwide right to abortion, or under subsequent Supreme Court rulings that have upheld Roe.

“The restrictions we can place there are very closely regulated by the Roe v. Wade decision or decisions,” Bryan said. “So one of the things I’m looking at as I look at the bill is whether the bill has any chance of being upheld by the courts.”

Bryan said he has supported several abortion restrictions that have been put into law since he was elected to the Senate more than 28 years ago. Mississippi requires a 24-hour waiting period before any abortion can be performed. It also requires parental or judicial consent for any minor seeking to end a pregnancy. Only one abortion clinic still operates in the state.

“What we have not done is to pass bill after bill after bill that was obviously unconstitutional just so we could all get on record one more time as casting another vote realizing that what was going to happen was someone would file suit the next day and the legislation would never take effect,” Bryan said Monday.

The measures to ban and limit abortions include a bill that would require abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital
and to be certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Rep. Adrienne Wooten, a Democrat from Jackson, told the House it should not “step into the confines of my home and tell me what to do with my body” while pro-life lawmakers said the law makes sense because women who suffer from botched abortions need to be admitted to the hospital for urgent medical care and treatment.

Under HB 790, that was killed, it would have banned “webcam abortions” and collect data on the use of chemical abortions in Mississippi. The measure was sponsored by Rep. Alex Monsour and passed by the House of Representatives on a vote of 78-35.

Webcam abortions involve the RU 486 abortion drug, administered via video conference with an abortion provider in another location.  The doctor talks with the woman, then presses a button which opens a drawer to remotely dispense the drug.  The doctor is never physically present to examine the woman for any problems such as a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy as suggested by the FDA.

With the drug having killed dozens of women worldwide and injured more than 2,200 alone in the United States, according to April 2011 FDA figures, pro-life groups have been concerned about Planned Parenthood putting women’s health at risk.

RU 486  and its companion drug are administered between the fifth and ninth weeks of pregnancy, after pregnancy has been confirmed and the process typically involves three trips to a doctor. About half of the women abort while at the doctor’s office, with another 26 percent having an abortion within the next 20 hours at any location at home or in public. The remainder either have an abortion in the coming weeks or none at all of the drug fails to work — making it so a surgical abortion is required.

Through April, the FDA reports 2,207 adverse events related to the use of RU 486, including 14 deaths, 612 hospitalizations, 58 ectopic pregnancies, 339 blood transfusions, and 256 cases of infections in the United States alone. A European drug manufacturer has publicly stated that 28 women have died worldwide after using RU 486/mifepristone.

“Webcam abortions are big money-makers for abortion providers, but far too risky for women,” said MSRTL President Barbara Whitehead.  “As with any medical procedure, the safety of the patient must be the primary concern, not profit.”

Meanwhile, the Mississippi House of Representatives worked late last night and after contentious debate overwhelmingly passed HB 1196 the so-called “Heartbeat bill” which would require abortionists to check for a fetal heartbeat, inform the mother that there was a fetal heartbeat, and – if the Senate passes the current version – prohibit the killing of the child after its heartbeat can be detected.