In our previous statement on Mississippi’s “heartbeat bill”, HB-1196, we expressed concern about some personhood-like language while staying neutral on the overall bill.
The original heartbeat bill died in the Senate, but its sponsor, Rep. Andy Gipson, appended its exact language to another bill, SB-2771. Late yesterday afternoon, Rep. Gipson amendmed SB-2771 yet again, to the version found here, which was subsequently passed by the House.
We have put the new language through legal review, and we have concluded that this is personhood.
SB-2771 in its current form would carry the potential to severely impact IVF, contraception, and even common fertility drugs like Clomid. It could threaten women’s access to medical treatment to preserve their lives and physical health. Essential components of the IVF process, such as embryo cryopreservation, could now potentially meet the definition of “child homicide” and result in criminal charges against doctors.
I want to emphasize that this is NOT A REVERSAL of our previous position, because this bill is no longer simply a heartbeat ban. The revised language carries all the possibility for unintended consequences that Initiative 26 presented, and that caused Mississippi voters to reject personhood by a 58-42 margin.
We continue to be neutral on the question of the heartbeat ban, but due to the potential non-abortion consequences of this latest revision, we oppose SB-2771 and regard it as a personhood bill.
Rep. Gipson has filed two separate personhood amendments this session, plus an anti-IVF bill which would have stopped Mississippi couples from building their families. He has made it very clear that his intentions are to impose personhood and end IVF in Mississippi any way he can. With the latest amendment to SB-2771, he has shown that he will break the legislative rules in order to cram personhood down Mississippians’ throats.
We call upon the Senate, Lt. Governor Tate Reeves, and Senate Judiciary B Chairman Hob Bryan to stop Rep. Gipson’s abuse of the legislative process, and to reject his addition of personhood to SB-2771.
We encourage you all to contact your senators, the Lt. Governor, and Chairman Bryan TODAY in order to oppose this latest attempt to defy our rejection of Initiative 26 and threaten Mississippi families’ access to medical care and family-building options.
We will be explaining our position in more depth in subsequent posts over the next several days, and exploring the legal issues with you. However, we want you all to know that we consider this to be a personhood bill, and we hope that you will take immediate action to contact the Senate.