The ‘heartbeat bill’ has been sent to Governor Bryant’s desk.
After the House passed a slightly amended version of SB 2116 last week, the Senate has voted to concur on those changes and send the bill on to receive Governor Bryant’s signature.
The law, authored by Senator Angela Hill, would become one of the strictest of its kind in the country by prohibiting an abortion in Mississippi as soon as a fetus has a detectable heartbeat. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this typically occurs around six weeks into a woman’s pregnancy.
Governor Bryant has supported the bill throughout the legislative process, and he intends to sign it.
Thank you to the Mississippi Legislature for protecting the unborn by passing the Heartbeat Bill (SB 2116) and sending it to my desk for signature. I look forward to signing it very soon. pic.twitter.com/Xln7IpTkMR
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 19, 2019
Following the passage of the bill, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves also released a statement in support of the law.
“Mississippians value the sanctity of life and expect their elected leaders to fight for those beliefs,” Reeves said. “A beating heart clearly means life has begun and should be protected. I appreciate the work of both senators and representatives for getting this legislation to Gov. Bryant’s desk.”
The bill was the center of lengthy debates in both chambers, with some lawmakers arguing that a woman may not even know she is pregnant at six weeks.
The only exception included in the bill states that an abortion can be performed if the mother’s life is at risk.
A 15-week abortion ban was signed into law last year, but a federal judge deemed the law to be unconstitutional. The state continues to appeal that decision, and many expect that another lawsuit will be filed against the state when this bill is signed into law.
Similar ‘heartbeat bills’ are being discussed in Georgia, Ohio and Tennessee. A federal judge recently blocked a heartbeat law from going into effect in Kentucky.
Currently, only one abortion clinic remains in Mississippi.