Legislative leaders in Mississippi’s long-running efforts to ban abortion were pleased by news the nation’s high court appears poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, perturbed by the way the court’s decision was leaked, and looking ahead to banning abortion drugs or making other changes.
“I am thrilled by the news,” said Rep. Becky Currie, R-Brookhaven. “I hate how it has come out. I hesitate a little bit on celebrating until we see a full report from the court … But I think putting it back in the states’ hands for individual states to decide is what is best. I think it should have always been that way.”
Currie in 2018 authored House Bill 1510, a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, which is now before the nation’s high court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. On Monday night, Politico reported it obtained a leaked draft U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion that would overturn the 49-year-old landmark Roe v. Wade abortion rights decision and allow states to regulate — or ban — abortions.
Mississippi is one of 13 states that has a law on the books that would be triggered if Roe is overturned. That 2007 law would ban abortions in most cases in Mississippi. The state Legislature also passed another law — being blocked by a federal court — that would ban abortions at six weeks.
It would appear the decades-long push by conservative lawmakers in Mississippi is nearly won. But Currie and Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, another anti-abortion advocate, said there would likely still be work for the Republican supermajority state Legislature. Both said they would focus on banning abortion-inducing drugs.
“Depending on the outcome from the court, and if in fact abortions are outlawed in Mississippi, then the issue of chemical abortions, with drugs being overnighted from out of state, would certainly be fair game to address,” Fillingane said.
Currie said she “absolutely” would support a state ban on abortion drugs.
“You can go in at 10 weeks or earlier in a pregnancy and have a choice between the medication and the procedure, and I think that’s something that needs to be addressed,” said Currie, who is a registered nurse. “… I think that causes some big problems, when you give a woman a handful of medicine to go home and expel a child.”
Currie said she’s already seen reports about Congress attempting to codify the right to abortion that the Roe v. Wade decision had provided in federal law.
“That makes me very worried,” Currie said. “There are still hurdles in Washington, D.C. I perceive this being an issue that they would get rid of the filibuster over.”
Currie, Fillingane and others were angered at the unprecedented leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion, saying it was likely from abortion rights supporters hoping to change the majority opinion of the high court.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves addressed this on social media.
“Everyone is rightly outraged over the alleged leak in the MS abortion case,” Reeves posted on Twitter. “Let’s think bigger. For decades, America has been uniquely radical in the West. Our abortion laws look like China & N. Korea. Please pray for wisdom and courage for (the U.S. Supreme Court). Countless lives can be saved!”
House Speaker Philip Gunn on Tuesday tweeted: “MS House Republicans led to protect the unborn with the passage of HB1510, now on review in Dobbs. Their efforts put us in a position to protect unborn lives. While I condemn the leak, I pray the Supreme Court will stand up for the sanctity of life and overturn Roe.”
Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann in a statement said: “Personally and religiously, I am pro-life. I am very hopeful Mississippi will prevail in this case. This important constitutional decision to restore our state’s rights, however, must not be tainted by unethical and criminal leaks. Any effort to use political pressure to thwart the judicial branch of our government is unacceptable and dangerous.”