By Dave Andrusko
As eagerly anticipated, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Wednesday signed the Life Equality Act that bans abortion based on the baby’s race, sex, disability, or genetic makeup.
“The new Mississippi law that bans certain reasons for abortion took effect as soon as the governor signed the bill,” explained Emily Wagster Pettus of the Associated Press. “It sets a prison sentence of up to 10 years for any physician or other health care worker who knowingly violates the ban. It specifies that the woman getting the abortion would not be punished, and the ban does not apply if the woman faces a medical emergency because of the pregnancy.”
When the bill was on the floor of the state Senate Senator Joey Fillingane answered a number of questions about the bill.
“We are simply saying all these rights that have been won over the years in the area of racism or sexism should be applied to the unborn in Mississippi,” said Fillingane.
Fillingane said Attorney General Lynn Fitch is supportive of the legislation. Her office would handle the cases against doctors who violate the statutes that this bill puts in place
A poll conducted earlier this year found “65% of Americans, including 50% of those who identify as pro-choice, oppose abortion because of the possibility an unborn child may have Down syndrome.”
Mississippi joins the growing number of states fighting prenatal discrimination.
Freda M. Bush, M.D., a retired physician from Jackson, Mississippi, made an eloquent case for the Life Equality Act in an op-ed that appeared on June 6th in the Clarion Ledger.
Dr. Bush began
In my 30-year career as an Ob/Gyn, I have delivered countless babies and dedicated my life to providing quality health care for women. As a doctor and an African American woman, I have always sought to treat every patient with respect for her inherent dignity and to partner with other doctors who share that approach.
Discrimination simply doesn’t belong in the practice of medicine.
Tragically, one place where discrimination is still widespread is inside the womb, where babies can be targeted for abortion for reasons our society wouldn’t accept anywhere else.
Dr. Bush concluded
Our medical community is ready to welcome diverse members of society. Our code of ethics as doctors compels us to serve each individual with equal inherent value.
We call on the Legislature to pass House Bill 1295, the Life Equality Act. It has passed the state House with flying colors. We need the state Senate to reflect the position of the majority of Mississippians and ban discrimination abortion, because the differences that make us unique can never diminish the value of our lives.