ACLU Applauds Defeat of Abortion Ban in Mississippi

March 28, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

Says Bill Would Have Endangered Women’s Health and Lives

JACKSON, MS -- The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the defeat of a dangerous and extreme abortion ban late last night in the Mississippi legislature. 
 
“This extreme abortion ban would have threatened the health and lives of women across this state,” said Nsombi Lambright, Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi.  “This is a great victory for the women of Mississippi and speaks to an active and growing pro-choice voice in the state that is fighting to ensure that all women can access the reproductive health care they need.”

The ban, which Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said he would have signed into law had it passed, came only weeks after a similar abortion ban became law in South Dakota.  Last week, advocates for women’s health in South Dakota launched a grassroots campaign to repeal that measure at the polls in November.

“History has shown us that when women are denied access to abortion they may resort to desperate measures,” said Louise Melling, Director of the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project.  “The women of Mississippi would be better served if the legislature would focus on commonsense solutions aimed at reducing unintended pregnancy such as funding medically accurate sex education and ensuring access to birth control, including emergency contraception.”

The bill, which failed to pass last night after Senate and House negotiators were unable to reach an agreement, would have outlawed abortion in Mississippi, a state that is already failing when it comes to protecting access to reproductive health care.  Ninety-eight percent of counties in the state are without an abortion provider, and in a recent report by the Guttmacher Institute, Mississippi ranked 30th in the nation in its efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancy. 

Similar bans on abortion are still pending in eight states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.

For more information on the ACLU’s work to protect reproductive freedom visit: www.aclu.org/reproductiverights/index.html

For more information about the South Dakota ban visit: www.sdhealthyfamilies.org

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