Mississippians would have a right to use contraception protected under state law if Democratic lawmakers succeed in getting a proposed bill signed into law during the new legislative session that begins in January 2024.
The Right to Contraception Act is “more than just helping with family planning purposes,” its sponsor, Rep. Zakiya Summers, D, Jackson, told the Mississippi Free Press in an interview on Oct. 27. She said the proposed bill is about “putting the right back into the hands of the people to be able to make the very best health decisions for their lives.”
Because the U.S. Congress has not been able to codify the right to contraception, Summers said she wanted to ensure that Mississippi law protects those rights for residents.
The effort comes a year and a half after the Mississippi attorney general’s office, with the help of a right-wing Christian legal group based in Arizona, paved the way to overturning federal abortion rights and shutting down the state’s only abortion clinic in the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
Reeves Skirts Questions About Contraception Ban
Republican Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has long been a staunch opponent of abortion and, as lieutenant governor, oversaw the passage of multiple abortion bans—including the one at the center of the Dobbs case. He has not devoted much energy to contraception, though.
In an interview with NBC News Meet The Press host Chuck Todd before in May 2022—over a month before the Dobbs ruling—Reeves avoided directly answering questions about potential contraception bans.
At that time, Republican lawmakers in Louisiana had advanced abortion legislation that would have designated abortions as homicidse and would have criminalized some forms of contraception, like Plan B and IUDs. The bill did not make it to the governor’s desk in the 2022 legislative session, however.
“If there is legislation brought to you to ban contraception, would you sign it?” Todd asked Reeves on the show.
“Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen in Mississippi. I’m sure they’ll have that conversation in other states,” the Mississippi governor replied.
“But you’re not
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