Republican Gov. Haley Barbour said Wednesday that he likely would sign a bill to ban most abortions in Mississippi if it’s approved by lawmakers.
The state already has some of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. The bill that passed the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday would allow abortion only to save the pregnant woman’s life. It would make no exception in cases of rape or incest.
Responding to questions about whether he’d sign a bill with no exceptions for rape or incest, Barbour said: “It hasn’t gotten to my desk yet. When one gets there, we’ll find out, and I suspect I’ll sign it. But I would certainly rather it come to my desk with an exception for rape and incest. I think that’s consistent with the opinion of the vast majority of Mississippians and Americans.”
The bill goes to the full House, which could vote next week. Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, said he believes it will pass the House and move to the Senate.
McCoy told The Associated Press that although he opposes abortion, he always has been willing to make an exception for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.
“As I live longer and longer, the harder and harder it has become for me to accept abortion, period,” McCoy said.
He said he’ll listen to arguments on both sides of the issue. He said not allowing exceptions for rape or incest would be “pretty tough.”
“It’s also for those of us who don’t believe in abortion to think about the taking of a human life, regardless of how it got started to be on this earth,” McCoy said.
Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck, a Republican, said she hasn’t had a chance to read the House proposal.
“I think this body will look very strongly on pro-life issues,” said Tuck, who presides over the Senate.