April 5, 2013 — The Mississippi Senate on Wednesday voted 46-6 to give final passage to a bill (SB 2795) that would tighten restrictions on medication abortions, including requiring that a physician be present when a woman takes the drugs, the AP/Mississippi Business Journal reports. The state House passed the measure by an 84-30 vote on Friday.
The legislation now heads to Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who has indicated he wants to end abortion in Mississippi. If signed, the bill would take effect on July 1 (AP/Mississippi Business Journal, 4/4).
The measure states that physicians must adhere to FDA protocols when administering abortion-inducing drugs. In practice, this would prohibit the use of medication abortion after seven weeks from a woman's last period; many doctors currently use the method up to nine weeks.
The bill also would mandate that a woman return to the doctor's office to take the second of the two drugs used in a medication abortion, rather than taking the second pill at home. In total, a woman would be required to visit the office four times: before she receives the prescription, when she takes the first pill, when she takes the second pill and a follow-up two weeks later (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/7).
State Sen. Brice Wiggins (R) said antiabortion-rights groups and the state Baptist association support the bill. He added that the Mississippi State Medical Association and state ob-gyn group are "fine with it."
Felicia Brown-Williams, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said Bryant should veto the bill, adding, "Politicians should not be involved in a woman's personal medical decisions about her pregnancy" (AP/Mississippi Business Journal, 4/4).