Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant knows that despite signing Mississippi’s new pro-life “heartbeat” bill into law, the battle to limit abortion in his state is far from over.
But he’s good with that.
“We will answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, ‘I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action,'” Bryant, a Republican, tweeted last week after signing the bill.
We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, “I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.” https://t.co/4bHEmCqN74
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 20, 2019
S.B. 2116 revises the law to “prohibit an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat except to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.” A doctor who breaks the law could lose his license.
Bryant faced the prospect of lawsuits from pro-abortion forces with composure.
“They don’t have to sue us. It’s up to them. If they do not believe in the sanctity of life, these that are in organizations like Planned Parenthood, we will have to fight that fight. But it is worth it,” Bryant said, according to WSBT.
Bryant was not alone in defending the state’s action.
In Mississippi, we value life. We defend the innocent unborn. Today, the Heartbeat bill got its final passage in the Senate, and we sent a message. The people pushing unlimited abortion will not win. We will do the right thing and protect our children.
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 19, 2019
Today, the Heartbeat Bill was signed into law by our governor @PhilBryantMS—a champion for life. This is why we need strong leaders with our values to defend the most vulnerable. In Mississippi, we will not allow the radical forces pushing unlimited abortion to gain an inch.
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) March 21, 2019
Abortion supporters disagreed.
“Lawmakers didn’t get the message. They are determined to rob Mississippians of the right to abortion, and they are doing it at the expense of women’s health and taxpayer money. This ban — just like the 15-week ban the governor signed a year ago — is cruel and clearly unconstitutional,” Hillary Schneller, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said Thursday.
But pro-life supporters said the bill gives Mississippi what its citizens want.
“A majority (58 percent) of Mississippi voters believe abortion should only be permitted to save the life of the mother. Eighty-four percent of voters believe abortion should be limited after the first three months of pregnancy,” Dr. Jameson Taylor, vice president for policy at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, said in a statement. “This polling was done well before lawmakers in New York radicalized the abortion debate by making abortion available to a woman on demand any time during her entire pregnancy. Only 8 percent of Mississippi voters support such a policy.”
“The heartbeat bill is popular because everyone knows a heartbeat is a sign of life. Intellectual and scientific honesty demands a reconsideration of Roe, a 50-year-old decision based on old science. 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds are showing women that their unborn child is alive. At six weeks, the child has a beating heart. Soon after, it can sense light, move, hear and taste,” he added.
Bryant also noted that the legislation reflects the values of his state.
“We think this is showing the profound respect and desire of Mississippians to protect the sanctity of that unborn life whenever possible,” Bryant said of the legislation. “It also protects, we believe, the physical and mental health of the mother. We here in Mississippi believe in protecting and defending the whole life of that child,” Bryant said, according to the Clarion-Ledger.
“The heartbeat has been the universal hallmark of life since man’s very beginning,” the governor said. “It starts with the child from six to nine months. I can remember the exciting moments both with my children and grandchildren … when that heartbeat could be heard. The celebration is often turned into tragedy when the child’s life is taken,” he added. “We’re going to try and protect that child whenever we can.”
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