The Life Equality Act, House Bill 1295, prohibits the use of abortion as a tool of genetic manipulation, conforming Mississippi’s abortion policies to state and federal civil rights protections. The bill prohibits the use of abortion as a means of discriminating against minorities, women, and the disabled.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Crawford, with a companion bill by Sen. Jenifer Branning. Rep. Nick Bain and Sens. Brice Wiggins and Joey Fillingane also directed the bill to passage in their respective chambers, with the strong support of Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.
“If abortion is about choice, a forced abortion absolutely violates the right to choose,” stated Dr. Jameson Taylor, Vice President for Policy at Mississippi Center for Public Policy. “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. Mississippi has an obligation to repudiate and reject its dark past that includes the forced sterilization of African American women.”
A May 2019 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court (Box v. Planned Parenthood) urged states to consider that “abortion is an act rife with the potential for eugenic manipulation” and that “from the beginning, birth control and abortion were promoted as means of effectuating eugenics.” In addition, the December 2019 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision striking down Mississippi’s 15-week abortion law cautions that the “history of abortion advocacy” is infected with the “taint of racism” because abortion “has proved to be a disturbingly effective tool for implementing the discriminatory preferences that undergird eugenics.”
“Mississippi lawmakers are taking a cue from both the U.S. Supreme Court and the 5th Circuit, which have indicated it is time for states to consider the discriminatory impacts of abortion,” Taylor added. “The Life Equality Act sends a clear message that abortion should not be used to discriminate against women and children, regardless of race, sex or ability.”
The Box decision observed that the abortion rate for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in utero is 67 percent in the United States and that the abortion rate “among black women is nearly 3.5 times the ratio for white women.” Likewise, a recent study from the Institute for Family Studies finds that U.S. sex ratios at birth suggest a growing trend of sex-selective abortions aimed at baby girls.