Heartbeat bill moves closer to becoming law

The ‘heartbeat bill’ is another step closer to becoming law.

After originating in the Senate earlier in the session, SB 2116 was slightly amended and passed by the House on Monday with a 74-36 final vote. 

As one of the more high profile pieces of legislation in a relatively quiet session, the bill would prohibit an abortion in Mississippi as soon as a fetus has a detectable heartbeat. According to the American Pregnancy Association, this typically occurs around 6 weeks into a woman’s pregnancy. 

“God believes that human life is sacred, and we believe that as well,” Speaker of the House Philip Gunn said on Tuesday. “Those of us who voted for this bill are fighting for the rights of the unborn. We believe that it is a human life and that it should be preserved.”

Mississippi’s bill was introduced shortly after controversial bills regarding late-term abortions were passed in both Virginia and New York. 

“The Governors in those states were basically advocating infanticide; that you could actually kill the baby up to the moment of delivery and after, and that is just mind-boggling to me,” Gunn said. “That is one of the reasons that your seeing these bills coming forward across the nation, because the majority of the nation, in my view, does not believe in that.”

Included in the bill is an exception allowing an abortion if the mother’s life is at risk. 

The bill now heads back to the Senate, and they’ll either concur on the changes and send the bill on to Governor Bryant’s desk or invite conference. 

It appears that the bill will eventually make its way to the Governor, and when it does, he intends to sing it. 

“I’ve often said I want Mississippi to be the safest place for an unborn child in America,” Governor Bryant recently stated. “I appreciate the leadership of the MS House and Senate, along with members of the Legislature, for passing the fetal heartbeat bills today. I look forward to signing this act upon passage.”

A 15-week abortion ban was signed into law in 2018, but it was eventually deemed “unconstitutional” by a federal judge. The state is currently appealing that ruling, but another lawsuit would most likely be filed against the state if this bill is passed and signed.