(The Hill) — Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn (R) told reporters Wednesday it is his “personal belief” that if a 12-year-old girl is a victim of incest she should still be made to carry a resulting pregnancy to term.
“I believe that life begins at conception and every life is valuable. Those are my personal beliefs,” Gunn said.
A reporter then asked, “So that 12-year-old child molested by her father or uncle should carry that child to term?” to which Gunn replied, “That is my personal belief.”
A challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy made its way to the Supreme Court, where it was upheld in a decision that overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that guaranteed the right to abortion.
A separate state law passed in 2007 bans abortions outright if Roe were overturned, with exceptions for rape and instances when the mothers life is at risk. The 15-week law does not include a rape exception, and neither law makes exceptions for incest.
The Mississippi Free Press reports that several GOP lawmakers want the rape exception eliminated from the trigger ban, which would mean abortions would only be allowed to save the life of the mother.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which challenged the 15-week ban, filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking to prevent Mississippi from activating its more expansive trigger ban.
In its lawsuit, the group argues that abortions are still protected in Mississippi by the state’s own constitution through a 1998 decision by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
The trigger ban was certified by Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch Monday. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) declared June “Sanctity of Life Month” on Wednesday in celebration of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Mississippi currently has the nation’s highest infant and fetal mortality rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the lowest life expectancy in the country.