Mississippi House Considers Virtual Abortion Ban

Mississippi’s House is currently considering a ban on all abortions in the state except those necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman or girl. The amendment, which is very similar to the ban just passed by South Dakota, is supported by anti-choice Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R). Barbour has said he would probably sign the bill with this amendment if it passes as expected in the state legislature, although he would prefer to include exceptions for rape and incest, according to the Associated Press.

Only one abortion clinic remains in the state of Mississippi – the embattled Jackson Women’s Health Organization. “Mississippi has been extremely punitive to women’s rights in a lot of different ways, so this amendment is in keeping with this tradition,” Susan Hill told Ms. magazine, president of the National Women’s Health Organization, which owns the sole abortion clinic in Mississippi. “But we’re not going anywhere Ñ we’re going to fight this until the bitter end.”

Mississippi has the highest teen birth rate and one of the highest poverty and infant mortality rates in the country. A last-minute addition to the amendment would require the state to pay for the health care and education of all children until the age of 19 in Mississippi whose mothers sought family counseling and chose to continue their pregnancies.

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Associated Press 3/1/06; Jackson Clarion-Ledger 3/1/06; Text of amendment 3/1/06

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