Mississippi lawmakers are moving towards passing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
Senate Bill 2116 would require that a woman undergo an ultrasound to determine if there is a fetal heartbeat before an abortion could be performed. Lawmakers say that occurs at about six weeks, but it could vary. Senator Joey Fillingane of Sumrall explained the exceptions to the legislation yesterday on the Senate Floor.
"The two exceptions are to save the life of the mother or if a major bodily function of the mother would be at risk. The second exception is if there is no fetal heartbeat detected,"
Senator Deborah Dawkins of Pass Christian who is opposed to the bill raised this issue.
"Depending on how various scientists define the heartbeat, what is called a heartbeat by some is actually pulsating embryonic tissue that may become a heart," said Dawkins.
Senator Angela Hill of Picayune authored the bill and became emotional talking about it.
"These children have a unique DNA. They are not the women's party. They are separate. The woman just houses and feeds that baby for nine months," said Hill.
An amendment by Senator Derrick Simmons of Greenville to exclude rape and incest victims from the bill failed. He says last year lawmakers passed a 15-week ban on abortion that the state is appealing to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
"A federal judge has ruled the 15-week ban unconstitutional. State taxpayers have spent $1.2 million in fighting something that they know or knew at the time was unconstitutional," said Simmons.
The bill passed 34 to 14. A similar measure passed the House. A single version will go to the governor which he is expected to sign.