Mississippi House members on Thursday signed off on a bill most indicated they didn’t fully understand that could further discourage abortions and possibly put the state in conflict with federal privacy laws.
House Bill 520 originally penalized people for falsely reporting child abuse. But the Senate made eight pages of changes, adding language that among other things says a parent or guardian can sue whoever helps a teen get an abortion without parental consent.
Anti-abortion activists said the amended bill would protect minors from sexual predators and help prosecute offenders.
Abortion-rights groups warned the bill would discourage pregnant teens from seeking medical attention and cause the state’s infant mortality rate to rise.
The measure is headed to Gov. Haley Barbour’s desk unless legislators decide to debate it further or a key House leader allows it to die.