Our view: Abortion debate a moot point

Posted on April 27, 2012

The Dispatch, April 27, 2012

Good for Hob Bryan.

Rather than let a politically popular bill onto the Senate floor sure to be ruled unconstitutional, the Amory senator Thursday refused to let the bill out of the committee he chairs. The bill, making it a criminal homicide for anyone performing an abortion once a heartbeat is found, would have run afoul of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a nationwide right to abortion, said Bryan.

We would have thought the Legislature got the message on abortion last November when 58 percent of Mississippi voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have defined life as beginning when an egg is fertilized.

“I have always voted for and supported every restriction on abortion that was constitutional,” Bryan told the Associated Press. “However, this is clearly not constitutional, and it would serve us no purpose to pass it.”

Earlier this session, Bryan killed two bills that would have put new restrictions on abortion. House Bill 1196 would have prohibited abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, unless the woman’s health was at risk. House Bill 790 would have regulated the use of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 by requiring the prescribing physician to be in the room when the woman took it.

With Roe v. Wade in place, we wonder why legislators and Gov. Phil Bryant, who has been an outspoken anti-abortion advocate, bother. This week the governor made the ridiculous assertion, “their (the political left’s) one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb.”

Bryant has pledged to end abortion in Mississippi.

For all the governor’s chest thumping, it’s a moot point. Regardless how you feel about abortion — and the point of this editorial is neither to champion or oppose it — the Supreme Court has spoken. Abortion is legal in every state in the nation. Period. Any effort to curb the practice is likely to be ruled unconstitutional.

For lawmakers to waste time and resources haggling over reproductive issues, is simply political grandstanding, little more.

Posted in: Mississippi