Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, ACLU of Mississippi, Faith in Women, Love Me Unlimited 4 Life, Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, Mississippi Center for Justice, Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund, Mississippi in Action, and SHEro Collective Speak Out Against House Bill 1295
Jackson — State lawmakers in Mississippi are seeking to pass more extreme abortion legislation that targets specific populations of women by banning abortion on the basis of gender, race, or genetic anomaly. House Bill 1295, also known as the “Reason Ban” would eliminate access to some early abortions in the state based on the results of prenatal genetic testing. It is the latest attempt by Republican lawmakers in the state to attack Mississippians’ reproductive freedom.
So-called “reason bans” are unconstitutional. Politicians are not medical professionals and they have no right, legally or otherwise, to prevent women from seeking health care. Abortion is a deeply personal and sometimes complex decision that must be left to a woman, in consultation with her family, her faith, and her health care provider. The courts have already made it clear that lawmakers cannot, under any circumstances, prevent a woman from making the decision to have an abortion before viability.
If policymakers were truly concerned for the well-being of Mississippians, they would spend more time focused on passing legislation that improves health outcomes for people in the state rather than focusing on controlling women’s bodies.
“Sponsors of this bill claim that House Bill 1295 will combat gender and racial selection. The truth is, this bill only further perpetuates abortion stereotypes and sends a message that women cannot be trusted to make their own medical decisions. Doctors and patients need all of their options, especially in cases where complications in pregnancy develop.
This bill threatens women’s lives and health by making abortions harder to obtain for the women who need them. If House Bill 1295 passes, it won’t reduce the need for abortion in our communities. It only prevents people from accessing safe, legal abortion performed by qualified providers, and forces women to withhold information from their doctors,” said Felicia Brown-Williams, Mississippi State Director for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates (PPSEA).
“This bill is harmful and will impact women of color and women who are low income disproportionately. It also opens the door to criminalization and having unintended consequences that will hurt our families,” said Cassandra Welchlin, Mississippi Black Women's Roundtable, Co-convener/State Organizer.
“Every day women face the deeply personal decision of whether to continue a pregnancy. Every pregnancy and woman’s circumstance is different. We don’t know all of the reasons someone chooses to end a pregnancy – we aren’t in their shoes. But we can agree that the decision must always remain with the person, in consultation with their family and faith,” said Joshua Tom, Interim Executive Director and Legal Director of the ACLU of Mississippi.
“Faith in Women recognizes that the decisions to become a parent, when, and under what circumstances are deeply personal. This bill to further restrict abortion access does nothing to actually improve the lives of families making reproductive decisions. We wish that instead of focusing on eliminating abortion access at every opportunity, our legislature would focus on creating a Mississippi in which all children and families can thrive,” said Ashley Peterson, Executive Director, Faith in Women
“We denounce any and all efforts by the state of Mississippi, that restricts the rights of Mississippians in accessing safe abortion. These proposed laws are not only harmful and discriminatory against women’s health they cost the state millions of dollars in litigation.” - The SHEro Collective
“The state of Mississippi continues its relentless attacks against reproductive healthcare. There is never a ‘reason’ to ban a safe, non-invasive procedure such as abortion. We stand in solidarity in opposing such bans, at any stage. And support the rights of Mississippians to make their own family planning decisions void of government intrusion.” - Evonne Kaho, Founder & Executive Director of Love Me Unlimited 4 Life
The Mississippi legislature is continuing its crusade against women and their ability to make their own healthcare decisions. This unconstitutional restriction adversely affects poor women who do not have the means to seek assistance elsewhere. It must not pass. - Beth Orlansky, Advocacy Director, Mississippi Center for Justice
Instead of playing a divisive political game with the personal decisions of our families, our lawmakers should work to ensure that the people of Mississippi have access to the services they need and appropriate accommodations when they need them.