The Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus will announce its intent to file a bill protecting Mississippians’ right to contraception at the State Capitol Friday morning. 

The proposed bill will be filed in January when the state Legislature convenes, according to a press release sent out by Americans for Contraception. The group also released a television ad Thursday night encouraging Mississippians to demand Gov. Tate Reeves clarify his stance on contraception. 

Reeves in the past has refused to rule out contraceptive bans or even define what he considers contraception versus “abortion-inducing” pills and devices. 

Rep. Chris Bell, D-Jackson Credit: Mississippi House

“Mississippians know what’s best for their health and their families,” Rep. Chris Bell, D-Jackson and chair of the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus, said in a press release. “Women and their partners deserve to feel confident about access to birth control – including condoms, IUDs, the pill, patches, emergency contraception, the ring – all of it. We refuse to give Republicans the opportunity to make healthcare decisions for us, and that’s why we’re announcing the intent to file a right to contraception act in Mississippi.” 

The proposed Mississippi bill will be modeled after a North Carolina bill that is pending, according to an Americans for Contraception representative. The bill says the state has “no legitimate governmental interest” in limiting people’s right to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. 

After the fall of Roe v. Wade in June of last year, the federal constitutional right to contraception became a topic of national discussion. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called on the Supreme Court to review Griswold v. Connecticut, the landmark decision in which the court ruled that married couples have the right to access contraception. 

Soon after, 195 Republican members of the U.S. Congress, including every Mississippi Republican in the House, voted against the “Right to Contraception Act,” which would have codified the right to contraception under federal law. Since then, some state legislatures have introduced bills to restrict access to contraceptives, or allowed health providers to refuse to provide or cover contraception. 

The Dobbs ruling made access to contraception more critical in Mississippi, which has one of the country’s highest rates of unplanned pregnancy and maternal mortality and the highest rate of infant mortality.

The mission of Americans for Contraception is to protect Americans’ right to contraception. Since it was launched in 2022, the group has made efforts to help pass the Right to Contraception Act in states like North Carolina, Wisconsin and Arizona – where lawmakers and state senators are working to secure statewide access to contraception, including long acting reversible contraception like IUDs. 

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Sophia, a New York native, covers community health with a focus on women’s and family health care. In 2023, she graduated with a master’s in journalism from Northeastern University, where she served as editor-in-chief of the Boston Scope. Her multimedia work has been recognized by the National Press Photographers Association and the New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She has also worked for the global nonprofit, Girl Rising, and the documentary group, The Disability Justice Project.