Miss. Turns To ‘Cord Blood’ To Track Down Statutory Rapists

Starting in July, doctors and midwives in the state will be required by law to collect samples of umbilical cord blood from babies born to some girls under the age of 16. Officials will analyze the samples and try to identify the fathers through matches in the state’s DNA database.

“It is our hope that we can deter men over the age of 21 from having sex, particularly with girls 16 years and younger, particularly if they know we are going to pursue them,” said Jim Hood, the state’s Democratic attorney general who helped draft the bill.

Officials said Mississippi is the first state in the country to try the approach.

Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, is also a supporter of the effort. Previously a deputy sheriff, Bryant said it’s necessary to protect young women who might be victimized by older men, even if the teenagers say they consented to having sex. Too many of these young teens are becoming pregnant against their will, he said.