Mississippi lawmakers sound off on fetal heartbeat bill, question its future

Wednesday’s abortion debate was a cross between a biology lesson and a Sunday school class

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mississippi lawmakers are a step closer to passing a more restrictive abortion law. These bills are known as the “heartbeat bills.” The goal would be to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Wednesday’s abortion debate was a cross between a biology lesson and a Sunday school class.

“I formed you in the womb," said Senator Gary Jackson, quoting a scripture. "I knew you, and before you came forth out of your mother’s womb, I set you apart as a prophet unto the nations.”

Both the House and Senate bills would ban most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. The exception being when the life of the mother is in danger.

“After the fetal heartbeat is detected, if this law goes into effect, the state’s interest in protecting the unborn life would outweigh the woman’s interest in getting an abortion,” explained Sen. Joey Fillingane.

But one House member questions that timing.

“It’s really a ban on abortion - period, because if you don’t know that you’re pregnant before 5-6 weeks, how can you have an opportunity to have an abortion?” asked Rep. John Faulkner.

Amendments were offered to add more exceptions.

“In the unfortunate circumstances where a person becomes pregnant due to rape or incest,” said Sen. Derrick Simmons.

But those failed in both chambers. The next concern for many is the fact that the state passed a 15-week abortion ban last year that was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge and is still awaiting appeal. Opponents say this will lead to more of the same.

“Oh, trust me... we’re going to court,” noted Rep. John Hines.

Therefore, members in both chambers asked the costs of the latest court fight.

“Total of that was $56,000 that we’ve spent so far in defending HB 1510 from last session gentleman,” said Rep. Sam Mims.

Despite those concerns, the bills passed in both chambers.

And Governor Bryant is expressing his support.

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