In all the proclamations of “Black Lives Matter,” one black group continually gets overlooked: unborn. Abortion is the number one killer of black lives in the United States, killing more than HIV, homicide, diabetes, cancer, accidents, and heart disease combined, according to Protectingblacklife.org, but the BLM movement disregards those statistics, choosing instead to direct its anger to the limited number of black deaths at the hands of white police officers. And while abortions disproportionately impact the black community for many reasons, pro-life lawmakers in Mississippi are hoping to at least prohibit discriminatory abortions based on race, sex, or disabilities. On Wednesday, Mississippi state senators advanced the Life Equality Act (HB 1295) by a vote of 33 to 11.
“The inherent right against discrimination on the basis of race, sex, or genetic abnormality is protected in federal and state laws. For example, the 1964 Civil Rights Act … and the laws of every state protect against discrimination on the basis of race or sex,” the bill reads. “The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. 701), the Americans With Disabilities Amendments Act of 2010 (42 U.S.C. 12101, et seq.), and numerous state laws prohibit discrimination against individuals on the basis of a real or perceived physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.”
“Notwithstanding these protections, unborn human beings are often discriminated against and deprived of life,” it adds. “The State of Mississippi maintains a ‘compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics.’”
The legislation includes jail time and penalties for abortionists who violate the ban, but not on the woman asking for the abortion.
According to pro-life doctor Freda Bush, a retired OB-GYN, who advocated heavily for the bill, the womb is “one place where discrimination is still widespread.”
“Currently in Mississippi, it is legal to have an abortion if the family prefers a boy over a girl. Our state also allows abortion on the basis of race or genetic condition,” Dr. Bush wrote in a recent editorial for the Clarion Ledger. “The Life Equality Act is our state’s effort to end these lethal disparities.”
In support of the legislation, state Senator Joey Fillingane (R-Covington) referenced Down syndrome while answering questions on the floor. He pointed out that more than 60 percent of babies believed to have Down syndrome are aborted in the United States.
In an opinion piece written for the Clarion Ledger, guest columnists Anja Baker and Marilyn Musgrave also noted how abortions disproportionately affect females and members of the black community:
A recent analysis suggests as many as 8,400 little girls are missing in America due to sex-selection abortion for the years 2014-2018 alone — just because they were girls. Furthermore, the big abortion industry led by Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion business — takes a disproportionate toll on communities of color. Thirty-eight percent of all abortions are performed on black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), even though they make up only about 14 percent of the female population in America. This is nothing less than eugenics; it is wrong and it has no place in a society that aspires toward justice and equality.
“We are simply saying all these rights that have been won over the years in the area of racism or sexism should be applied to the unborn in Mississippi,” said Senator Fillingane.
Several lawmakers offered amendments to the bill that would have undermined the bill’s intentions, Mississippi news outlet Y’all Politics reports.
Senator Derrick Simmons (D) wanted an amendment that removed all of the language from the bill and replaced it with simply this: “A woman’s reproductive decisions shall be made by the woman, her family, her physician and her god.”
Democrat Senator David Jordan countered Simmons’ amendment: “What about the child, do they not still have a right to be born?”
Senator Angela Turner-Ford (D) wanted to remove language that would hold doctors criminally liable, asserting she hoped to protect doctors who may encounter patients with “ill intentions.”
As observed by Life News, Mississippi has led the charge on pro-life legislation in recent years. In 2018, it passed a bill that banned abortions after 15 weeks, and passed a bill in 2019 that banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected. Predictably, however, the measures faced court challenges, preventing them from being enforced.
According to the Clarion Ledger, at least 11 states have enacted or introduced legislation that protects unborn babies with Down syndrome from being aborted. Laws against discriminatory abortions have solid support among the majority of Americans, as seen in a 2019 Marist poll, with 62 percent of Americans, including 50 percent who have identified as pro-choice, opposed to abortions of children with Down syndrome.
HB 1295 now heads back to the House to be approved in its final form before heading to the desk of Republican Governor Tate Reeves.
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Raven Clabough acquired her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English at the University of Albany in upstate New York. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and has been a writer for The New American since 2010.