Lawmakers in the Mississippi House voted Monday to pass the latest version of a bill to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, clearing one procedural hurdle standing between it and a signature from Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.
Last month, both the House and the Senate voted to pass the bill by Republican state Sens. Angela Hill and Chris Caughman, which makes exceptions only to save a woman’s life or prevent harm to a “major bodily function.” Violators could have their medical licenses suspended or revoked.
Lingering differences in each chamber’s language had to be resolved before it could be signed into law, however. SB 2116 and HB 732 do not differ in their substantive details such as exceptions or punishment, but the language must be made identical before it can be sent to the governor’s desk.
The House amended and passed the measure on Monday, the Associated Press reported, sending the Senate to take one more look at it.
“I’ve often said I want Mississippi to be the safest place for an unborn child in America,” Bryant said last month, endorsing the bill. “I appreciate the leadership of the MS House and Senate, along with members of the Legislature, for passing the fetal heartbeat bills today. I look forward to signing this act upon passage.”
On Tuesday, Bryant called on the legislature to “get this bill to my desk so I can sign it.”
Time to get this bill to my desk so I can sign it. https://t.co/ZgzMmOSprF
— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 12, 2019
Heartbeat bills have grown more popular across the country over the past several months. They ban abortion much earlier than the “viability” standard set by Roe v. Wade, which some cite to claim the bills waste time and money, but others argue that’s the point: to force a Supreme Court review that could finally overturn the 1973 ruling.
“The pro-life community has waited years for the courts to recognize the obvious … that a baby with a beating heart is deserving of its life being legally protected,” Republican state Sens. Angela Hill, one of the bill’s lead sponsors, previously told LifeSiteNews. “I remember how thrilled I was to first hear the heartbeats of my own children. I knew that they were unique individuals growing inside my body. I was just their shelter and their food for (nine) months.”
Attesting to the power of fetal heartbeats, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy quotes the testimony of women who sought help at Jackson’s Center for Pregnancy Choices. “I saw my little bitty baby,” one said. “I saw its heartbeat. I did my nervous laugh, attempting to hold back my tears, as I watched my tiny baby jump and dance around. That’s when I knew that I was going to do this, whatever it took.”