Mississippi Passes Law Banning Abortions Based on Race, Sex, Disability

(Photo by ROGELIO V. SOLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
July 2, 2020

Gov. Tate Reeves (R., Miss.) signed the Life Equality Act into law Wednesday, banning abortion on the basis of a fetus's race, sex, or disability in the state of Mississippi.

The bill, which makes sex-selective, race-selective, or disability-selective abortion a felony, passed Mississippi's state senate by a 33-11 vote and went to Reeves's desk after a concurrence from the state house. The law's language mentions sex-selective abortions and abortions targeting genetic abnormalities as examples of "modern-day eugenics."

"Sex-selection abortions are used to prevent the birth of a human being of the undesired sex. Its victims are overwhelming [sic] female," the law states.

It also states that pharmaceutical treatments, gene therapies, and prosthetic advances have provided disabled individuals with "much greater opportunities for survival and success than ever before."

The law requires physicians that perform abortions to confirm in a report that the abortion is not being performed because of the listed categories. Violating the law is punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a suspension of the physician's license to practice in the state.

While other pro-life laws, such as heartbeat bills, have encountered legal challenges after passage, laws banning selective abortions have found legal success. In Missouri, a federal judge stopped a law banning abortions after eight weeks from going into effect, but allowed the provision of the law banning sex-selective abortions to stand.

The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List praised Reeves's "strong pro-life leadership" in a statement.

"The enactment of the Life Equality Act is an historic victory for the pro-life citizens of Mississippi, for the voiceless victims of discrimination and all who advocate for them," the group said. "Starting now, unborn babies in Mississippi cannot be targeted for abortion based on their sex, race, or potential disability, such as Down syndrome."