JACKSON – The Senate unanimously passed a bill Thursday that protects children against abuse. Meanwhile, the lawmakers also approved a bill that cracks down on unqualified doctors who perform abortions in Mississippi.

Senate Bill 2498 also known, as the Child Protection Act, requires mandatory reporting of alleged or suspected sexual abuse and places a time limit on reporting such abuse. It also requires additional details be reported of the alleged crime.

The Mississippi Senate has twice passed the Child Protection Act unanimously in previous sessions, but those measures died in the House, something Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant believes is regrettable.

“This legislation provides the necessary tools for law enforcement to fight crimes against children,” Bryant said.

Under the Child Protection Act certain persons must report every instance of alleged or suspected sexual abuse of a child by an adult. Such persons include health care practitioners, members of the clergy, teaching or childcare providers, law enforcement officials, or commercial film or photographic print processors.

The report is to be made within 48 hours after the abuse has been brought to the reporter’s attention. The legislation further states that failure to report suspected abuse is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $5000, imprisonment in jail not more than 1 year, or both.

Lastly the Child Protection Act states that a physician who performs an abortion on a minor who is younger than 14 years of age must preserve a tissue sample for DNA analysis. The sample will be submitted to the Bureau of Investigation or the Department of Public Safety for DNA testing to help determine the identity of the father. Failure of a physician to comply will constitute unprofessional conduct and will be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $5000, imprisonment in jail, or both.

“The Child Protection Act sends a clear message that Mississippi will not tolerate such abuse and intends to go after the criminal who preys on children,” Bryant said.

In other action, the Mississippi Senate unanimously approved SB 2617 that requires all doctors performing abortions in Mississippi to be OBGYN certified and to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

According to Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, the principal author, currently we have individuals who are not OBGYN specialist doctors performing these very dangerous procedures on women in Mississippi.

“Until the scourge of abortion in Mississippi ends, it must be the public policy of our state to make surgical procedures safe for women in Mississippi,” Fillingane said.

SB 2498, “Child Protection Act”:

SB 2617:

Lt. Governor Phil Bryant