Mississippi Committee Passes Bill Banning Abortions Done Just Because of the Baby’s Gender or Skin Color

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 3, 2020   |   5:12PM   |   Jackson, MS

While the courts are blocking Mississippi’s heartbeat law, state lawmakers are working on other ways to protect unborn babies from abortion.

On Tuesday, a state House committee passed House Bill 1295 to protect unborn babies from discriminatory abortions based on their sex, race or a disability, the AP reports. Abortionists who knowingly abort a baby for any of these reasons could be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

Sometimes, unborn babies are aborted simply because they are a girl instead of a boy or because they have a disability, but few states protect them from this deadly discrimination.

Committee Chairman Nick Bain, R-Corinth, said protecting unborn babies is a priority in Mississippi.

“We have had a solid record of supporting pro-life measures, and we wanted to continue that,” Bain said.

However, some Democrat lawmakers balked at the legislation. State Rep. Sonya Williams-Barnes, D-Gulfport, said women should be able to choose abortion for any reason.

“Women should have a right to make a choice for themselves whether they want to have a child or not,” she told the AP.

In 2019, Mississippi passed a law to prohibit abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. However, the law never went into effect due to a legal challenge. In February, a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that the heartbeat law is unconstitutional and upheld a lower court decision blocking the law.

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Several states do ban sex-selection abortions, but an Indiana law similar to the new bill in Mississippi recently also was blocked in court. Roe v. Wade severely limits states from protecting unborn babies from abortion. The infamous U.S. Supreme Court case made America one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Polls show that most Americans support greater protections for unborn babies, including a ban on discriminatory sex-selection abortions.

A June Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans want all (21%) or almost all (39%) abortions made illegal. In contrast, 38 percent said they want all (25%) or almost all (13%) abortions legal. Similarly, a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found that just 6% of Americans said abortions should be allowed “up until the birth of the child.”