Mississippi's governor on Sunday defended his state's high-profile abortion restriction, telling CNN that science has proven the unborn baby in the womb has a heartbeat and is "a human life."
Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, made the comments during an interview on CNN's State of the Union in reference to a Mississippi law that will be examined by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.
The law bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Supreme Court said it would limit the scope of the case to one question: Are all laws restricting pre-viability abortions unconstitutional?
"For people such as myself that are pro-life. I believe that the Supreme Court made a mistake in the 1970s, but that's not the issue at stake that is before the court," Reeves said, referencing Roe v. Wade.
Reeves then transitioned to science, noting that host Jake Tapper had mentioned science in discussing COVID-19 and vaccines.
"The question that is before the court – and this is something that you mentioned earlier and that's with respect to understanding and appreciating and respecting science – the fact is, we know so much more in America today about the formation of young children in the womb than we did when Roe v Wade was decided in 1973. We know so much more ... [than] when Casey was decided in 1992. That was almost 30 years ago," Reeves said, referencing the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
"It is not unusual for the court to review cases from the past. ... We know that the heart has partially formed at 15 weeks," Reeves said. "... We know that most internal organs have started to form. … And so the question is not 'Are you going to overturn Roe v Wade?' the question is, the science has changed, and therefore it makes sense for the court to review their decisions from the past, and this is a vehicle … for them to do it."
Legislative findings in the text of the law say that "between five (5) and six (6) weeks' gestation," an "unborn human being's heart begins beating." The Mayo Clinic says the "heart begins to beat" around week six.
Asked by Tapper what he would tell a girl "who has been raped by an uncle" and wants an abortion, Reeves responded, "I'm not telling any child in Mississippi anything. What I'm telling everyone is we believe that abortions are murdering literally millions and millions and millions of Americans across many, many years. And it's a sad, sad state of affairs, and we're going to work very hard to make sure that when that baby becomes valuable, that it is treated as a human life because that is exactly what it is."
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Wlablack
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.