Mississippi Republican Governor Tate Reeves defended his state’s abortion laws and discussed the future of the pro-life movement.
Speaking with Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Reeves discussed the leaked early draft of the Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is based on a 2018 Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Supreme Court agreed to take up the case in May 2021. Mississippi is also one of 13 states with so-called “trigger bans” on abortion that go into effect if the Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
Todd began the interview by asking if the 2018 law at issue would ever go into effect, since Mississippi passed a trigger ban in 2007. “The whole point of this was to get a case to the Supreme Court to overturn Roe,” Todd claimed, “so will the 15-week ban, if Roe is overturned, be implemented in the state of Mississippi?”
Reeves responded, mentioning that the trigger law passed in 2007 was enacted by the Mississippi State Legislature with a Democratic Speaker of the House and Chairman of the Public Health Committee, representing the shift between the two major parties on the issue of abortion.
Reeves then dismissed Todd’s claim about the 2018 law, saying: “When we enacted the 15-week ban, our initial intent and our goal was really just to save babies’ lives,” Reeves said. “We believe that if Roe was not ever overturned, that it was certainly the viewpoint of Mississippians that if we could enact laws that would save babies’ lives, that it would be an, an endeavor to do so.” He then reiterated that the 2007 law would go into effect if the Court’s early draft held up.
Todd went on to challenge Reeves on the issue of contraception, asking Reeves if the trigger ban would apply to contraceptives. Reeves denied that it would.
“I don’t think that it is going to apply to those that choose to use birth control,” he said. “I believe that clearly a life begins at conception, and I am trying very hard to make sure that everyone in America knows that the overturning of Roe certainly puts the decision-making on abortion policy back in the elected representatives in each of the 50 states.”
“If there is legislation brought to you to ban contraception, would you sign it?” Todd asked.
“Well, I don’t think that’s going to happen in Mississippi,” Reeves responded. “I’m sure they’ll have those conversations in other states.”
“But you’re not answering the question,” Todd cut in.
Reeves dismissed the question. “There’s so many things that we can talk about,” he said. “What the next movement in the pro-life movement in my view, Chuck, is simple. And that is we must prove that being pro-life is not just about anti-abortion.”
To do this, Reeves cited two important priorities for his state. First, making resources available for expectant mothers, including investing in pregnancy resource centers and working toward a statewide system. Secondly, putting more resources into adoption and foster care programs, including the $100 million Mississippi invested to improve state programming.
Reeves also discussed the challenges facing his state if the law goes into effect.
“There is an American child in that womb,” Reeves concluded. “And it’s incumbent upon those of us who are elected to stand up for the rights of those individuals that can’t stand up for themselves.”