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JACKSON, Miss. (ChurchMilitant.com) - Mississippi is protecting preborn babies from becoming victims of genetic-selective abortion.
Governor Tate Reeves signed the Life Equality Act (House Bill 1295) on Wednesday, which prohibits abortions due to a preborn baby's race, sex or genetic abnormality. The new law includes penalties and potential jail time for abortionists who violate the ban.
Doctor Jameson Taylor, vice president for policy with the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, was delighted with the new law.
"The Life Equality Act sends a clear message that abortion should not be used to discriminate against women and children, regardless of race, sex or genetic condition," remarked Taylor.
Billed as an anti-discrimination law, House Bill 1295 passed the state legislature by a strong majority in June, as Church Militant reported. Mississippi now joins nine other states that prohibit sex-selective abortion and two others that ban abortion based on the baby's race or prenatal disability.
Senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, Denise Burke expressed gratitude to state leaders for expanding anti-discrimination protections to include preborn children.
"Every innocent life is worthy of protection, and no one should be discriminated against because of his or her race, sex, disability or genetic makeup," she commented. "Children shouldn't have to pass a genetic test to earn the right to be born."
A recent Marist poll found that 65% of Americans oppose discriminatory abortions when the unborn baby has Down syndrome. Half of these people identified as pro-choice on abortion.
Many doctors in Mississippi also support the new law. Freda Bush, a retired OB-GYN, praised lawmakers for their work to end discrimination in the womb.
"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," Freda wrote. "Currently in Mississippi, it is legal to have an abortion if the family prefers a boy over a girl. Our state also allows abortion on the basis of race or genetic condition. The Life Equality Act is our state's effort to end these lethal disparities."
Abortionists and organizations such as Planned Parenthood that profit from killing preborn children are presumably unhappy about the new law. Last year, the chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis, Colleen McNicholas, told the Associated Press that "every reason to have an abortion is a valid reason." This seemingly would include sex-selective abortions as well as abortion due to disabilities like Down syndrome.
Some pro-life critics bemoan the fact that women will still be able to kill their healthy, white, male babies in Mississippi. Additionally, many people contend that being killed in utero is the ultimate form of discrimination and child abuse. Proponents of the Life Equality Act say it could protect from abortion thousands of unborn babies each year.
Unborn children with Down syndrome, for example, are routinely killed at a rate of 70–100% in the United States and in various European countries. Sex-selection abortions are popular in East Asian and Middle Eastern countries, but many believe they also occur in the United States, although data is limited.
Mississippi, North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana currently have laws protecting unborn babies with Down syndrome from discriminatory abortions. The courts, however, have recently blocked such abortion laws. In 2019, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to lift a block on Indiana's law, and a federal judge blocked a new pro-life law in Missouri.
Church Militant reported in June that Mika Hartman, whom the medical community nearly convinced to abort her son on account of his Down syndrome, urged lawmakers to support the Life Equality Act. Hartman's story is not uncommon. Parents of children with disabilities frequently say they feel pressured by doctors and/or genetic counselors to abort their preborn children. Hartman's son is presently a happy and healthy toddler.
Bush supports parents like Hartman as well as those carrying a preborn baby who is expected to be stillborn. Asserting that abortion is never the answer to a genetic disorder or disability, Bush argues that prenatal hospice programs provide much-needed support for parents of an unborn baby diagnosed with a fatal disorder.
"In learning to better serve and treat all types of patients, we must never eliminate the patient," Bush wrote.
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