Mississippi Governor Sets the Right Tone on Pro-Life Policy
State of the Union: But the battle isn’t over yet.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves has pledged to sign a bill into law that would ensure Medicaid coverage for twelve months of postpartum expenses for the state’s mothers. The governor, who is running for reelection this year, said in a statement that he doesn’t “expect all of [his] friends to agree with this decision.” On the contrary, the stakes that Mississippi legislators put in the ground could help the governor identify old friends and new enemies.
The governor’s potential opponent in the November general election took to Twitter Thursday to accuse Reeves of “evading an issue” and to claim that he “doesn’t have the guts to push postpartum care for mothers.”
The state abolished abortion with exceptions for rape and incest in June of last year. According to Mississippi Today, Tuesday, February 28th is the deadline for the bill to pass out of the House Medicaid committee: “Speaker Philip Gunn has voiced opposition and Medicaid Chair Joey Hood, R-Ackerman, has refused to express an opinion on the issue.” Gunn announced last November that he would not seek reelection in the state’s 2023 election, and as of this writing has not responded to a request for comment from The American Conservative.
Tom Shakely, chief engagement officer at Americans United for Life, told TAC:
If Mississippi acts on Gov. Reeves’s challenge, every woman in the state will be empowered to get life-affirming prenatal care the moment they know they’ve become a mother. Every governor and state legislature should follow in Mississippi’s path and enshrine law that affirms and encourages life.
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Charlie Camosy, professor of medical humanities at Creighton University's School of Medicine, was one of the authors of a joint statement called "Building a Post-Roe Future." He told TAC that the governor's pledge
is a great step in the right direction... The political assumptions of fusionism have gone away, along with Roe, and this heralds a new moment full of possibilities that would have seemed impossible only a few short years ago.
The governor’s statement suggests that budget hawks look through a political lens that includes working class mothers and a cultural lens that includes the state’s Christians who believe that the birth of more babies is “a beautiful thing.” If the state House gets on board, this could be a win for both the governor and the state-level pro-life movement.