ACLU Criticizes Mississippi Governor for Signing Dangerous Abortion Ban into Law

March 22, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: media@aclu.org

Says Ban Will Endanger Women’s Health and Lives

JACKSON, MS - The American Civil Liberties Union today criticized the Governor of Mississippi for signing into law a dangerous and extreme abortion ban that will prohibit abortions in that state if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the right to access abortion.

“This is an extreme abortion ban that will threaten the health and lives of women across Mississippi,” said Nsombi Lambright, Executive Director of the ACLU of Mississippi. “An abortion ban will not reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in the state - it will, however, put women and their families at risk.”

The law in question, which Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour signed into law today, would ban nearly all abortions in the state; however, it can only take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, which established the right to access abortion nationwide. Today’s law will also have an immediate effect on women in the state. Physicians will be required to perform an ultrasound before an abortion regardless of whether doing so is medically necessary and teens seeking abortion care will face even tighter restrictions on access.

“History has shown that when women are denied access to abortion they may resort to desperate measures,” said Sondra Goldschein, a staff attorney with 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.”

Mississippi 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.

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

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