Mississippi Senate Seeks to Negotiate Abortion Ban

The abortion ban passed recently by the Mississippi House of Representatives is now before the Senate, which voted yesterday to begin negotiating changes to the bill so that it would not invalidate existing abortion provisions. Senate Public Health and Welfare Chairman Alan Nunnelee (R) told The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, “This outright ban has been put right in the middle of Mississippi’s informed consent statute. There’s very high likelihood that the two items would be challenged in court,” possibly leading to a court striking down the entire law.

The bill in question began as a requirement that women be given the option of seeing a sonogram before having an abortion, and the House added the language that would ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, and protecting a woman’s health. House Public Health and Human Services Chairman Steve Holland (D), who proposed the ban, is less interested in negotiating with the Senate. “If the issue is left up to moi, there won’t be another vote on that issue in the House this year or as long as I serve as chairman of the Public Health and Human Services Committee,” Holland said, according to the Associated Press. “It is over. Sayonara. Out of here.”

“Mississippi has been extremely punitive to women’s rights in a lot of different ways, so this amendment is in keeping with this tradition,” said Susan Hill, 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.”

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The Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 3/15/06, 3/16/06; Feminist Daily News 3/2/06

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