Mississippi considers 15-week abortion ban
A Mississippi House Judiciary committee approved late last month House Bill 1510, which bans most abortions after 15 weeks—the earliest in the United States. The bill now goes before the entire Republican-controlled House for further debate.
The bill makes exceptions if the mother’s life is threatened by the pregnancy or in cases where the baby has a severe abnormality.
“The risk to the mother is the prime driver in this bill,” said Rep. Andy Gipson, the committee’s Republican chairman and a Baptist pastor. “I think the Supreme Court has recognized that the states have an interest in protecting human life.”
Mississippi already has a 20-week abortion ban, and only one abortion center remains in operation in the state, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which has fought numerous court battles over the years against legislation that sought to limit its operations or shut it down completely. —A.S.
Judge pokes fun at New York’s pro-abortion argument
A federal judge in New York City appeared to agree with pro-life advocates whose case was heard in court last month.
On the docket were pro-life sidewalk counselors from the Church of the Rock in Brooklyn, sued by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman last June for allegedly harassing patients and staff at the Choices Women’s Medical Center in Queens. The Thomas More Society, which represents the church members, argued its clients, who met in front of the abortion center once a week for five years, compassionately counsel women considering an abortion and are properly exercising their First Amendment rights.
U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon seemed to agree, asserting that sidewalks are the “quintessential public forum” and that handing out leaflets is “protected speech.” Amon took issue with the state’s definition of harassment, characterized by “persistent … annoying behavior,” quipping that if being annoying was grounds for a harassment charge, “I could sue all of you here today.” The case continues, and such proceedings bode well for the defendants and the future of free speech and public assembly outside abortion facilities. —A.S.
West Virginia advances pro-life amendment
The West Virginia Senate last week advanced a proposed amendment to the state constitution asserting abortion is not a right. If approved by the House and a voter referendum, the amendment would bolster lawmakers’ abilities to protect the unborn and restrict abortion funding.
West Virginia is one of 17 states that uses state Medicaid funds to pay for abortions for the poor. Some 1,560 Medicaid-funded abortions took place in West Virginia in 2017 alone—triple the number funded by Medicaid only five years ago and costing taxpayers about $330,000. Language under consideration in the pro-life bill would ban Medicaid-funded abortions unless the mother’s life was at stake.
The bill was modeled after a 2014 Tennessee amendment that last month was upheld in a federal appeals court following a challenge by Planned Parenthood. —A.S.
Meet baby Lucas
Gerber announced last week it chose 18-month-old Lucas Warren as its 2018 spokesbaby. He is the first baby with Down syndrome to be chosen for this honor, and is adorable. WORLD Magazine’s Jamie Dean pointed out in her Whirled Views Journal last week, “Some late-term abortions involve children like Lucas,” but his smiling face reminds us of the value of all lives. —A.S.