The Mississippi House of Representative has passed a bill which would prohibit abortions from being performed because of a preborn baby’s race, sex or disability. HB 1295 is titled the Human Life Equality Act and would end discriminatory abortion practices in the state.
The Life Equality Act passed the Mississippi House on a vote of 79-33 on March 12, 2020. The Human Life Equality Act now moves to the Mississippi Senate where Republicans hold a 36-16 majority.
The text of the bill argues that aborting babies solely because of their race, sex or disability is a modern-day form of eugenics. “Unborn human beings are often discriminated against and deprived of life. The State of Mississippi maintains a ‘compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics,’” the bill reads.
Additionally, the bill argues that abortions performed because of the baby’s sex disproportionately harms female preborn babies. “Sex-selection abortions are used to prevent the birth of a human being of the undesired sex. Its victims are overwhelming female,” the bill states. “Despite equality under the law being guaranteed to all women in the United States and most of the developed world, sex-selection abortions continue to occur in the United States.”
According to one account, it is believed that 8,400 preborn baby girls were aborted in the U.S. from 2014-2018 just because they were girls.
That battle over whether laws prohibiting abortions due to the race, sex or disability of the preborn baby is an ongoing constitutional fight around the country.
Last year the Supreme Court declined to rehear a decision from the 7th Circuit which struck down an Indiana law prohibiting these kinds of discriminatory abortions. The Supreme Court chose not to weigh in on the law because it was the first time the issue had reached the court. If more states continue to pass these kinds of pro-life laws, it’s likely the Supreme Court will take up the topic in the future.
In a concurring opinion to the Supreme Court’s order declining to rehear the Indiana law, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a fiery opinion denouncing discriminatory abortion practices.
“This law and other laws like it promote a State’s compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics,” Justice Thomas wrote. “Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger recognized the eugenic potential of her cause. Given the potential for abortion to become a tool of eugenic manipulation, the court will soon need to confront the constitutionality of laws like Indiana’s.”
It’s possible HB 1295 may give the court that chance, assuming the Mississippi Senate passes the bill and Governor Tate Reeves (R) signs it into law.
The pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) issued a press release commending the Mississippi House’s passage of the bill. “Abortions carried out because of a baby’s sex, race or potential disability, such as Down syndrome, is no less than modern-day eugenics,” the statement read. “SBA List is confident Gov. Reeves, a strongly pro-life governor, will not fail to sign it into law.”
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