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Mississippi introduces bill banning abortions on babies with beating hearts

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
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MISSISSIPPI, February 6, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Mississippi is the latest state to introduce a bill banning abortions on babies with beating hearts.

Senate Bill 2116 would prohibit aborting “the unborn human individual that (a) pregnant woman is carrying” if he or she “has a detectable fetal heartbeat,” except in cases of “medical emergency.”

The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Angela Hill, R-Picayune, and Chris Caughman, R-Mendenhall. The House version is Bill 732.

“The pro-life community has waited years for the courts to recognize the obvious ... that a baby with a beating heart is deserving of its life being legally protected,” Sen. Hill told LifeSiteNews. “I remember how thrilled I was to first hear the heartbeats of my own children. I knew that they were unique individuals growing inside my body. I was just their shelter and their food for (nine) months.”

“Let's just say she's a girl. The baby girl with a beating heart is a unique individual with her own DNA not the same as the mother,” continued Hill. “She's a separate little person growing that should have the chance to grow up and experience life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The womb should be the safest place on earth for unborn children with a beating heart.”

Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have made statements suggesting they support the heartbeat bill.

Responding to news about Virginia Del. Kathy Tran’s now-failed bill that would have allowed abortion even as a woman was going into labor, Bryant tweeted, “It’s time to pass a Heart Beat Bill in Mississippi and stop this madness about when life begins.”

“I thank Senators Hill and Caughman for introducing legislation to stop the barbaric practice of ending life in the womb even though a heartbeat is plainly detected,” said Reeves. “I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child.”

Protecting tiny humans with beating hearts is widely supported across the country, Sen. Hill pointed out to LifeSiteNews. She cited a 2017 Barna poll that found 70 percent of Americans, “including a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, support legal protections on a baby's life when her heartbeat is detected.”

She also said she wanted the country to be encouraged that despite the push for abortion through and even after birth in other states, “there is some sanity here in (Mississippi) on this issue.”

Hill criticized “New York’s liberal leadership’s sickening celebration of legalized infanticide ... on the delivery table.” With Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam “coldly describing in horrifying detail that the living baby would be kept comfortable until its fate was decided on the delivery table, we must speak up.”

Congressional failures to defund Planned Parenthood or pass major pro-life legislation during the first part of President Trump’s term when the U.S. House and U.S. Senate were controlled by Republicans have been met with a stream of bold state legislation, including numerous heartbeat bills.

“The pro-life movement has taken a patient woman-centric, baby-centric approach to policy reform, supporting incremental changes like parental consent and commonsense medical standards for abortion clinics – the same standards that would apply for any other similar procedure,” Dr. Jameson Taylor, vice president for policy at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, told LifeSiteNews.

Taylor noted that last year the Mississippi “legislature voted for a law that says abortion should only be available during the first three months of pregnancy. This is the international scientific and medical consensus – that abortion should be limited after the first trimester.”

Fetal heartbeats can usually be detected around six weeks into pregnancy. New parents typically hear their babies’ heartbeats at doctor visits around this time.

“In response to this incremental approach, the radical abortion movement is now openly supporting infanticide, as in the case of a barbaric law passed in New York state. Mississippi lawmakers could not stand by without doing something,” he continued. “None of us can stand by now that we know that the real goal of the abortion movement is to allow for the murder of a fully developed baby, just seconds before she is born. That is why I believe the time has come for the heartbeat bill. We can no longer pretend that a baby in the womb with a beating heart isn’t a person deserving of legal protection.”

Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates sent out a panicked email Wednesday saying, “In the final hours before the committee deadline, the Mississippi House and Senate Health committees met and passed dueling abortion bans, SB 2116 and HB 732 … In an election year and with a new Supreme Court makeup, Mississippi legislative leadership was not to be deterred.”

SB 2116 must still clear the Senate floor and move to the state House.

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