Mississippi Bill Would Ban All Abortions, Declare Violators ‘Guilty of Murder’

An abortion rights protester holds up a clothes hanger with the words, "Never Again" in front of the Mississippi Capitol Building during a May 2019 protest against Mississippi's "fetal heartbeat" law, which bans abortion once a heartbeat becomes detectable, which typically happens around six weeks gestation. Photo by Ashton Pittman

Abortion-rights advocates are warning that a new Mississippi abortion bill could make all abortions a felony offense for “any person” who “willfully and knowingly … causes” an abortion “or attempts to procure or produce an abortion or miscarriage.”

Mississippi House Rep. Dan Eubanks, a DeSoto County Republican, introduced House Bill 338 yesterday. Anyone violating the law “shall be guilty of murder” and face one to 10 years in the State Penitentiary with fines between $25,000 and $50,000, the bill says.

Those penalties would also apply to anyone “who writes or prints, or causes to be written or printed, a card, circular, pamphlet, advertisement, or notice of any kind, or gives information orally” that helps someone else obtain the procedure.

“The Mississippi Legislature just dropped its first attack on abortion, HB338. Take action NOW; demand that your legislators protect access to safe, legal abortion,” Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates wrote in an alert to supporters this afternoon.

The reproductive-rights organization has fought other attempts to make abortion illegal in recent years, including the 2019 “Fetal Heartbeat” law that bans abortions once a heartbeat becomes detectable, or around six weeks. 

Mississippi House Rep. Dan Eubanks, a Desoto County Republican, is the principal author of House Bill 338. He also co-sponsored the 2019 “heartbeat law.” Photo courtesy Rep. Eubanks

Federal courts blocked that law, which Rep. Eubanks also co-sponsored, from taking effect, but Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has said she may appeal it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Eubanks’ latest anti-abortion bill coincides with his introduction of a bill to ban public and private employers alike from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for employees. In an audio message to supporters of the Mississippi Freedom Caucus earlier this month, he said vaccine mandates would mean “it is merely a matter of time before we as citizens lose all freedoms or say even over our very own bodies.”

“It’s your health. It’s your body. And you should have every say on what is forced into it and upon it. Anything less is nothing short of medical rape,” the anti-abortion Republican said of potential vaccine mandates in the Jan. 3 message.

The latest anti-abortion bill comes after President Donald Trump expanded the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court by replacing the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg with Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has a history of advocating anti-abortion positions.

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