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Mississippi House Approves Anti-Abortion Bill

The Mississippi House approved an anti-abortion bill last week that would further restrict abortions in the state, and possibly violate federal privacy laws. According to the Clarion Ledger, most members said they did not fully understand the measure when they voted to approve it. When state Rep. Bennett Malone (D) challenged members to raise their hands if they understood the bill, only about a half dozen of the 122 members did so, according to the Ledger. Kiani was still stoned to death on July 5, 2007. Ebrahimi’s death was stayed due to the public outcry, and last week the Iranian judiciary amnesty commission released her from prison.

The bill, HB 520, originally established penalties for falsely reporting child abuse. However, the Mississippi Senate added eight pages of changes, including provisions to allow parents or guardians to sue anyone who helps their pregnant minor obtain an abortion, and to require fetal tissue on abortions performed on minors under the age of 14 to be saved for DNA testing in order to identify the father.

According to the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, Tom Head, secretary of the Mississippi chapter of the NOW, said the measure could endanger the lives of pregnant minors by “denying them confidential access to medical care.” Head stated, “I can understand the efforts to try to reduce the number of abortions, but this would threaten lives.”

The House voted against allowing more Senate/House negotiations over the bill, and the decision whether or not to send the bill to Governor Haley Barbour (R) rests with the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Willie Bailey (D). If Bailey does not send the bill, it will die when the House sessions ends April 19th, according to the Associated Press.

Sources:

Clarion Ledger 3/28/08; Daily Women�s Health Policy Report 3/31/08; Associated Press 3/31/08

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