Mississippi’s abortion laws reflect a region that has tough restrictions on the procedure. The state’s laws are similar to those in surrounding Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
The pro-choice organization NARAL Pro-Choice America has given all five states F grades
. The group bases its ratings on permissive abortion laws with the lowest grades being for the strictest states.
Women in Mississippi who decide on abortion are required to receive state-directed counseling and then wait 24 hours before the procedure. The counseling includes information that may discourage a woman from having an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute
. Parents must be notified before a minor undergoes an abortion.
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Neighboring states have similar state-sponsored counseling requirements before an abortion. Tennessee and Alabama require a 48-hour waiting period before the procedure while Louisiana and Arkansas require 24 hours following the counseling.
Some Mississippi state legislators are considering 72-hour waiting periods similar to the law in Missouri, north of Arkansas. State Sen. Phillip Gandy proposed an extension, saying that the effect a decision on abortion has on a woman “needs some thought and some time,” according to Mississippi Public Broadcasting
Health insurance coverage for public employees and under the Affordable Care Act in Mississippi can only include abortion if there is life endangerment, rape or incest. The neighboring states allow public funding for abortion and under the Affordable Care Act in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest.
Mississippi has also taken more restrictive measures in abortion regulations. State legislators passed a law in 2012 that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, which threatened to close the state’s only abortion clinic in Jackson. The law is still before the courts, NBC News reported
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A law banning abortions after 20 weeks gestation went into effect in Mississippi in 2014. The law does not apply to cases of life endangerment to the mother or fetal abnormalities.
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