Following the U.S Supreme Court’s historic decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion across the United States, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves announced on Wednesday the state officially recognizes the month of June as “Sanctity of Life Month.”
“We have a firm conviction that each life is precious and each individual is created in the image of God,” Reeves wrote in his proclamation.
Reeves said the state encourages all citizens to celebrate the sanctity of life from the unborn to natural death, adding its dedication to the profound truth that all life is a gift from God.
Mississippi’s battle to protect the unborn began gaining momentum in 2018 when former Governor Phil Bryant (R) enacted an abortion ban called the Mississippi Gestational Age Act. The law would prohibit clinics within the state from performing an abortion on babies after 15 weeks of pregnancy. But Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the state’s lone licensed abortion clinic — sued to stop the act from going into effect.
“This is the way that they chip away at abortion until it goes away,” Jackson Women’s Health Director Shannon Brewer recently told NPR. “It’s 15 weeks, and then it’s gonna be 14 weeks, and then it’s gonna be 10. This is the way that they do it.”
However, the law wouldn’t have changed much, as the abortion clinic said it already did not perform abortions after 16 weeks of pregnancy.
But the southern state defended the Mississippi Gestational Age Act in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which began hearing arguments in December 2021.
In its petition to the nation’s highest court, Mississippi questioned whether the Supreme Court’s precedents set by Roe v. Wade and the affirming Planned Parenthood v. Casey — which prohibited states from banning most abortions — were constitutional, arguing, “The conclusion that abortion is a constitutional right has no basis in text, structure, history, or tradition.”
Nearly six months later, the nation’s highest court overruled the Dobbs case, 6-3, which changed both Roe and Casey, and vindicated Mississippi’s augment holding that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision.”
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, individual states — like Mississippi — have enacted complete bans or other laws they see fit regulating abortions. Mississippi banned abortion unless the mother’s life is in danger or she was a victim of rape and reported the incident to law enforcement. Anyone who attempts to perform an abortion in the state faces felony charges punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 or up to 10 years in prison, or both, according to The Guttmacher Institute.
“Mississippi must now turn to the work ahead, to take every step to support mothers and children through policies of compassion, to ensure every baby has a forever family that loves and cherishes them, and to build and sustain our pro-life agenda,” Reeves said.
Reeves’ agenda promotes a culture that values the inherent dignity of every individual and restores the wonder of life.
“Elective abortion has ended the lives of over 63 million unborn children, and in some cases, their mothers as well — nearly a complete generation lost to humanity.” Reeves wrote.
“Standing on the shoulders of giants in the pro-life movement, we rejoice and press on knowing our work is not done yet.”
Zach Jewell contributed to this report.