Mississippi officials are worried about the influx of babies estimated to be coming to the state, now that abortion is almost entirely illegal there.
In a state senate hearing on Sept. 28, health officials estimated that as a result of the Dobbs decision, there would be at least 5,000 additional births in the state each year, and most of the children will be “unwanted or unplanned.” The state health officer, Dr. Daniel Edney, said 60 percent of children in these circumstances are on Medicaid and “end up in the system.” Republican state senator Brice Wiggins asked the state’s Child Protective Services Commissioner, Andrea Sanders, if she was “prepared for 5,000 additional kids across the state.”
“No sir. Not by myself, I’m not,” Sanders replied. “It concerns me. And I would appreciate everyone considering it a problem we need to solve together.”
The Dobbs ruling that overturned Roe, of course, originated in Mississippi with a case involving the Jackson Women’s Health abortion clinic, which has since been forced to relocate to New Mexico.
As the Mississippi Free Press points out, there are currently about 4,000 children currently in foster care in the state. Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, with numbers disproportionately higher for people of color. Furthermore, the sex education policy in the state has to be “abstinence only or abstinence plus.”
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To recap, Mississippi’s legal case against its only abortion clinic is what caused Roe to be overturned. Then the state’s pre-existing trigger law almost completely banned the procedure, with a few rare exceptions involving life of the pregnant person and rape. Mississippians aren’t being properly taught about sex education, and more than 200,000 women in the state live in contraceptive deserts. So people will be forced to have pregnancies, put themselves and their babies at risk of death, and then if the babies survive and need support from the state, the state is now admitting they are not prepared to handle that.
Here’s a free idea: Provide sex education, make contraception as widely available and easy to get as possible, and legalize abortion.