Four Antiabortion Bills Move Forward in Miss.

March 8, 2012 — Mississippi lawmakers advanced four antiabortion bills on Tuesday, the last day for House and Senate committees to act on general bills and constitutional amendments, AP/Biloxi Sun-Herald reports. The bills now will be considered by the House (Wagster Pettus, AP/Biloxi Sun-Herald, 3/6).

The first bill (HB 790) would require a physician to be present when mifepristone is administered and to try to schedule a follow-up visit with the woman. A second measure (HB 1196) would require a physician to look for a fetal heartbeat before a woman can receive abortion care and tell the woman if he or she detects one.

Another bill (HB 1390) would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. The fourth bill (HB 16) would require fetal tissue to be preserved for DNA testing if an abortion is provided to a girl younger than age 14. It also would allow a lawsuit to be brought against anyone that helps a minor receive abortion care without parental consent.

The Legislature defeated two bills (HB 323, SB 2335) that would have allowed the state to certify midwives. The measures were opposed by the Mississippi State Medical Association (AP/NECN, 3/6).

Les Riley, who sponsored the "personhood" measure that voters rejected last year, said he will start another petition if lawmakers do not put another personhood amendment on the statewide ballot. It was not clear on Tuesday whether there would be enough support in the Legislature to do so.

Atlee Breland of Parents Against Personhood, which campaigned against the amendment last fall, said "it's a very good thing for women and families that the Legislature has elected not to override the will of the voters" (AP/Biloxi Sun-Herald, 3/6).