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Mississippi Senate passes ban on aborting babies with beating hearts, governor to sign

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JACKSON, Mississippi, March 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Mississippi will soon become the latest state to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, thanks to the state Senate approving the measure’s final language on Tuesday.

Last month, both the House and the Senate voted to pass the bill by Republican state Sens. Angela Hill and Chris Caughman, which makes exceptions only to save a woman’s life or prevent harm to a “major bodily function.” Violators could have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.

SB 2116 and HB 732 did not differ in their substantive details, but lingering differences between the language of the two bills had to be made identical before being sent to the governor’s desk. The House amended and passed the final version last week, and now the Senate has done the same, Fox 31 Denver reports, with a 34-15 vote.

“Mississippians value the sanctity of life and expect their elected leaders to fight for those beliefs,” Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves declared following the vote, Breitbart adds. “A beating heart clearly means life has begun and should be protected."

Felicia Brown-Williams, Mississippi director of Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates (PPSEA), complained that “in effect, the Mississippi Legislature just outlawed abortion for most Mississippians,” which she claimed would be “absolutely devastating for the people of this state” because “[p]eople die every day in Mississippi because they lack access to health care.”

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has already confirmed he will sign the bill once it reaches his desk. "The heartbeat is the beginning of life...You can't take that life," he told Fox & Friends in February. "This is a human being. They have rights.”

Numerous states have introduced or enacted heartbeat bills over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim the bills would waste time and money on a doomed legal battle. Their proponents, however, argue that their purpose is to force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling, hope fueled by the speculation that President Donald Trump’s nominees to the high court are on their side.

“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 previously 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.”

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