Mississippi law could effectively end legal abortion in the state


As Melissa Harris-Perry reported on Sunday’s edition of her eponymous show, today is when Mississippi’s new restrictions on abortion providers kick into effect. The law, HB1390, requires abortion providers to be licensed OB-GYNs with the authority to admit patients to Mississippi hospitals—in effect, making it impossible for Mississippi’s sole remaining abortion clinic to stay open.

“The effect is to make it impossible for women in Mississippi to obtain a safe, legal medical procedure to which they have a constitutional right,” said Harris-Perry.

That seems as good a reason as any to revisit what Mississippi State Representative Bubba Carpenter said about the law at a Republican Party meeting in Mid-May. Melissa Harris-Perry aired part of the video in that same episode, courtesy of MaddowBlog (the good people who originally reported on this).

Here’s a remarkable quote from that video:

And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor, pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger.’ That’s what we’ve heard over, and over, and over. But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do.

Harris-Perry’s response: “So it seems that the moral values of lawmakers like State Representative Bubba Carpenter do not include a concern for women’s health and safety.”

That point really can’t be hammered home enough. Watch the video. Listen to the implied sneer in, “poor, pitiful women.” Note the dismissive hand wave when Carpenter says he’s heard these concerns “over, and over, and over.” It’s one thing to be merely pro-life. But to Carpenter, the health of women forced to seek illegal abortions isn’t even a factor.

It’s hard to swallow “pro-life” as the label for guys like Carpenter who dismiss the health concerns of already-born women with a shrug; especially having seen what that worldview has wrought. As Harris-Perry noted on the show, ”Mississippi has this strange reality where it has one of the lowest abortion rates, but then also one of the highest teen pregnancy rates and one of the highest—in fact, the highest—poverty rate in the country.” Mississippi’s new law, by making it so that only women who can afford to travel out of state have access to abortions, will only reproduce that poverty and further divide it along gender lines.

UPDATE: A federal judge has blocked the state of Mississippi from enforcing HB1390, pending further judicial review. A hearing is set for July 11.

Bubba Carpenter and Reproductive Rights

Mississippi law could effectively end legal abortion in the state