It looks like Mississippi will become the first state in the union to ban abortions early in the second trimester. The Gestational Age Act, likely to land on the pro-life governor’s desk in short order, will make abortions after 15 weeks’ gestation illegal. In other words, if more than 15 weeks have passed since the first day of a mother’s last menstrual period, she will not legally be able to secure an abortion in the state of Mississippi.
The legislation passed the House (79-31) last month, and it cleared the Senate Tuesday (35-14). The House is slated to make some minor changes to the bill before it moves to Governor Phil Bryant, who has pledged his support, saying he wants Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child.
The state currently has only one surgical abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health. Several years ago, a law was passed requiring abortion doctors at freestanding clinics to be board-certified OB/GYNs and to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. The abortion facility was unable to meet the requirements, but it remained open because of lower court decisions that stopped the law from going into effect. Efforts to enforce the law were eventually rejected by the Supreme Court after it struck down a similar law in Texas.
JWH is responsible for the majority of about 2,500 in utero babies killed every year from Mississippi. While 85% of the state’s abortions take place in the first trimester, the new law would potentially save 200 babies annually.
The bill specifies:
The majority of abortion procedures performed after fifteen (15) weeks' gestation are dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb. The Legislature finds that the intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession.
Of course, many pro-lifers feel torn over the legislation. Bible-believing Christians, in particular, believe protections for innocent human life, created in the image of God, should begin at the moment a unique new life is created – when egg and sperm unite.
“I believe that life begins at conception,” Rep Andy Gipson (R-MS), co-sponsor of the bill, said on AFR’s The Hamilton Corner. “And I believe it goes until the Lord calls us home – and that is God’s plan and purpose. The reality is that we are in a legal framework today of Roe v. Wade. It’s a step in the right direction.”
The law would potentially create an 8% decrease in revenue generated by abortions at JWH. Diane Derzis, owner of the clinic, said she would sue if the measure is signed into law, but Gipson said he feels confident the law will survive a court challenge.
In an expression of opposition, Rep. Adrienne Wooten (D-MS) addressed the Senate concerning the legislation. She dove into the state’s poverty rates, noting that 29.4% of Mississippi children are living in poverty.
“You tell me,” she said, “how this [bill] is going to resolve these issues. It’s going to further worsen the issue.”
So, my friends, according to this public servant, the idea of saving lives of babies through pro-life legislation should be condemned.
Her answer: Let’s kill them to alleviate the suffering they may otherwise experience through poverty.
She quickly moved on to an argument concerning child abuse.
“When it comes to child abuse and neglect,” she explained, “there’s still over 22,000 cases of child abuse and neglect right here in the state of Mississippi. You have anywhere from 8,500 victims of abuse and neglect on a daily basis. I don’t hear any legislation that deals with that.
“What I’m hearing is whether or not you should bring forward a life, and if that life is a woman, ladies and gentlemen, how then do we know that the mother that you’re forcing to bring forward this life is going to do what she should do as a mother? That’s what I think this state should be concerned about. There’s a reason there are 6,000 children in foster care. … Don’t encourage this kind of conflict. Let’s try and do something to resolve it.”
Her answer: Kill the babies to eliminate any possibility that they will ever experience abuse.
(Click here to see a video of Wooten speaking against the abortion ban.)
I agree with her on one point. Yes, the state should be concerned about poverty and child abuse. Perhaps she has found her calling. What an extraordinary opportunity she has before her to write and push forward legislation that addresses sexual integrity, self-respect, fatherlessness, parenting, education, and policy that supports the family unit, etc.
Voting for abortion is not a good start if Wooten wishes to help mothers love and bond with their children. In reality, many researchers believe child abuse is linked directly to abortion. If mothers believe babies growing and developing within them are burdensome, expendable, and unworthy of protection, the same mentality often overflows, in varying degrees, into the world of children living outside the womb.
According to the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect, child mistreatment has risen radically since the 70s when abortion became legal and rampant. Incidences of abuse grew rapidly in the years and decades following the legalization of abortion.
Concerning mistreatment of children, NIS statistics reflect a 149% increase from 1981 and another 67% increase in 1986. Over 1.5 million babies were being aborted annually during that time frame.
Then, from 1986 to 1993, increases were seen on all levels of abuse: physical (97%), sexual (125%), emotional (183%). Physical neglect also increased by 163% and emotional neglect by 188%.
Since 1993, incidences of child maltreatment have decreased slightly, and since 1999, it has leveled off. Abortion rates have also consistently been decreasing since the early 90s.
For instance, in 1990, 1,608,620 abortions were performed in the U.S., and the estimated number in 2017 was 926,190. Though abortions have decreased dramatically, the remnant mentality of undervalued and expendable children remains scattered throughout our society.
Of nearly one million children abused annually in the U.S., around 80% of such abuse perpetrated upon children under the age of five is by a birth parent – usually the mother. When mothers (and fathers) grasp their own infinite, God-given value, they will respect themselves and cherish their children.
The physical, emotional, and spiritual health of every precious child needs to be protected with fervor and wisdom. When appropriate messages are communicated through social and legal mechanisms, positive changes will be experienced in society.
The Gestational Age Act in Mississippi is a great start.