Miss. Governor Defends Abortion Ban That Includes Incest Survivors, Doesn't Rule Out Banning Contraception

Miss. Governor
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves.Getty

Mississippi is one of 13 states poised to outlaw abortion if U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is defending a controversial state abortion law that would force girls and women who become pregnant through incest to carry the babies to term.

Appearing Sunday on CNN, journalist Jake Tapper asked, “Why is it acceptable in your state to force girls who are victims of incest to carry those children to term?”

Reeves answered, “When you look at the number of (abortions) that actually involve incest, it’s less than 1 percent."

Mississippi is one of 13 states that have passed "trigger laws" that will quickly ban abortion if the landmark case of Roe v. Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. The only exemptions would be cases of rape or if the mother's life is endangered.

When asked why incest survivors were not exempted in Mississippi's trigger law, Reeves replied, “Well, that’s gonna be the law because in 2007, the Mississippi legislature passed it.” 

draft ruling by the current high court that would reverse Roe was leaked last week. That disclosure ignited fierce demonstrations and political condemnations against knocking down the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion a constitutional right and gave women across the country the prerogative to end unwanted pregnancies.

Tapper also pressed Reeves on whether his state would move to end contraception methods such as IUDs and "morning-after" pills. The governor did not directly respond to the question. “That is not what we’re focused on at this time,” Reeves replied.

The trigger laws already in place would effectively ban all abortions except in cases of rape and where the mother's life is in danger. Legislators in states including Missouri and Idaho have suggested that contraception devices such as IUDs, which have been used for decades, and emergency birth control pills that are taken in the days following conception, could face legal re-examination.

Nearly half of the country's states have signaled they are prepared to initiate restrictions or bans on abortion should Roe v. Wade be overturned. 

If that decision were to be overturned, a woman's access to abortion would be controlled by individual states.

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