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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mississippi follows South Dakota’s lead, moves ahead on no-exception abortion bill

Catholic Online

JACKSON, Miss. (Catholic Online) – A Mississippi House committee voted Feb. 28 to ban most abortions in the state, in an action similar to one last week in South Dakota that seeks to provoke a high court case over the legality of abortion.


Mississippi, according to the Associated Press, already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.

The state House Public Health Committee bill would allow abortion only to save the pregnant woman’s life, and, like the South Dakota legislation awaiting the governor’s signature, would make no exception in cases of rape or incest. The bill now goes to the full Mississippi House, which could vote next week, and then to the state Senate.

The state, like South Dakota, has one abortion clinic, in Jackson, and its leaders plan to fight if more restrictions are imposed, according to the AP.

The South Dakota legislation went to Republican Gov. Mike Rounds on Tuesday, and he has 15 days to act. Rounds has said he’s inclined to sign the bill into law.

The South Dakota House of Representatives, on the heels of the state Senate action earlier in the week, approved legislation Feb. 24 that, if signed by Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, could prompt a national legal battle over Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

The measure, which would establish South Dakota to become the first state in 14 years to make a direct assault on the right to abortion, would ban all abortions in the state except those to save the woman's life. In 1992, the Supreme Court reaffirmed a core right to abortion in the landmark case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

According to MSNBC and the AP, Rounds, who received the legislation on Feb. 28 and has 15 days to act on it, said he was inclined to sign the bill.

Other state legislatures are considering similar measures. But South Dakota is the only state so far to pass such an abortion ban, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights organization in New York and Washington, D.C., the AP reported.

Abortion rights opponents and advocates have debated the timing of efforts to attack Roe v. Wade, noting the arrivals of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. on the Supreme Court and speculation that Justice John Paul Stevens might soon retire.

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