The Mississippi Center for Public Policy commends Governor Phil Bryant for capping off a lifetime of pro-life public service by signing the Fetal Heartbeat bill today.

The “Heartbeat bill” allows abortion until the point at which a baby’s heartbeat is detected – about the middle of the first trimester.

“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,” said Dr. Jameson Taylor, vice president for policy at the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. “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,” continued Dr. Taylor. “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. Whatever you want to call it, this living thing has the ‘form’ of a human person, as the Supreme Court recognized in the Gonzales decision.” Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) upheld a partial-birth abortion ban, even in cases of pre-viability.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood) reports that “the risk of death associated with abortion increases with the length of pregnancy.” The risk of the mother dying as a result of an abortion increases more than 2,100 percent between 8-weeks and 18-weeks of pregnancy. Maternal mortality increases by 38 percent with every week after 8-weeks gestation.

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, the states have “legitimate interests from the outset of pregnancy in protecting the health of women” (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 847 (1992)). Further, the Supreme Court has long recognized that the states have an “important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life,” Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 162 (1973), and specifically that “the State has an interest in protecting the life of the unborn” Casey (1992).

See statewide polling results here.