by Bethany Monk
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed legislation today that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, when preborn babies begin to feel pain.
“Today is an important day for protecting the unborn and the health and safety of women in Mississippi,” Bryant said. “Medical research shows that an unborn child can feel pain by not later than 20 weeks gestation, and research also shows that the risk of death and complications from an abortion increases significantly as a pregnancy progresses.”
The law requires a physician to determine how far along a woman is in her pregnancy prior to an abortion. It was based on Americans United for Life (AUL) model legislation, which also focuses on the health risks of abortion for women.
“We know that with each passing week of pregnancy, the health risks of abortion increase,” said AUL President Charmaine Yoest. “A woman seeking an abortion at 20 weeks is 35 times more likely to die from abortion than she was in the first trimester. At 21 weeks or more, she is 91 times more likely to die from abortion than she was in the first trimester.”
The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House, 90 to 21, and the Senate, 21 to 10.
“I commend the leadership in Mississippi who worked together to achieve commonsense limits on dangerous abortion procedures,” Yoest said. “I particularly want to commend Rep. Andy Gipson and Sen. Joey Fillingane for their leadership.”
The law does include some exceptions.
“This new law helps correct the shocking reality,” Yoest said, “that as a result of Roe v. Wade, the United States is one of only four nations along with China, North Korea, and Canada that allows abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, for any reason whatsoever and sometimes with tax payer subsidies.”