Another day, another abortion ban

A committee in Mississippi's House passes a bill greatly restricting abortions.


Sarah Goldstein
March 2, 2006 2:40AM (UTC)

It just wouldn't be a news day if one piece of good reproductive news didn't come with two installments of bad. The Associated Press reports that Mississippi's House Public Health Committee in Jackson "voted to ban most abortions in Mississippi, which already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation." The bill is almost identical to the one passed by South Dakota lawmakers last week, which will undoubtedly provoke a court showdown over the legality of abortion. Both bills propose a ban on abortion except in cases to save the pregnant woman's life, but there will be no exception for rape or incest.

The AP reports that "the Mississippi bill now goes to the full House, which could vote next week, and then to the Senate." South Dakota's bill is currently on the desk of Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who is likely to sign it into law. Winning the award for "most laughable statement if only it didn't make you cry" is Steve Holland, the Mississippi representative, sadly a Democrat, who introduced the bill. His explanation for why he introduced the legislation? "I have a strong dilemma within myself on this," Holland told the AP. "I can only impregnate. I can't get pregnant myself." Oh really? Then stop voting like you can.

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Currently there is only one abortion clinic in the entire state -- as is also the case with South Dakota -- and, according to the AP, "Mississippi already requires a 24-hour waiting period and counseling for all abortions, plus the consent of both parents for minors who seek the procedure. Republican Gov. Haley Barbour favors restrictions on abortion, but he has not spoken about the current legislation."

Leaders of the National Women's Health Organization, which runs the clinic, say they will fight if further restrictions are imposed, but president Susan Hill concedes, "We're realists. We know we're in a state where the Legislature is anti-choice." Planned Parenthood, which intends to take South Dakota to court over its bill, has not yet issued a statement on the Mississippi bill.

Oh, and we almost forgot: Happy Women's History Month!

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Sarah Goldstein

Sarah Goldstein is an editorial fellow at Salon.

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