Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R) signed House Bill 1295 into law on Wednesday banning abortion based on sex, race, or genetic abnormality, except in the case of a medical emergency.
The Life Equality Act took effect immediately after it was signed last week. Pro-life supporters say it will protect babies with Down syndrome or other genetic issues.
“Unborn human beings are often discriminated against and deprived of life,” the new law states. “The State of Mississippi maintains a ‘compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.’”
In addition, the bill requires abortionists to “notate in a report that the abortion is not sought” for those reasons.
Physicians or health care workers who knowingly violate the new law will face up to 10 years in prison and suspension of their license to practice in the state. Meanwhile, the woman will not face penalty, nor would the restriction apply in the case of a medical emergency.
The law does affirm that “nothing in the act creates or recognizes a right to an abortion.”
Last month, both the state House and Senate voted by a wide margin in favor of the bill.
After it was signed into law last Wednesday, Mississippi became the second state to ban abortion based on race, sex, and genetic discrimination, according to Guttmacher Institute, a group that supports abortion rights; nine states prohibit abortion based on sex, two have a ban based on race, and two for genetic disability.
Meanwhile, a bill in Kentucky banning abortions for all three is currently on hold by order of the court, ABC reports.
“Women should not be pressured to have an abortion because their child is different: of a different ability, of a different race, of a different sex,” Jameson Taylor, from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, stated on Wednesday.
Planned Parenthood’s permanently installed CEO Alexis McGill Johnson condemned the act as “racist and discriminatory.”
According to a Marist poll conducted in January and sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, 65 percent of Americans oppose abortions because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. This includes 50 percent of those who say they are “pro-choice.”
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