Mississippi lawmaker asked about a hypothetical 12-year-old child molested by a family member says they should have to carry that pregnancy to term

·3 min read
  • Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn praised the reversal of Roe v. Wade at a news conference.

  • Gunn said a child victim of incest should carry a resulting pregnancy to term.

  • "I believe life begins at conception. And every life is valuable," Gunn said.

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said 12-year-old who is impregnated by a family member should have to carry that child to term, bucking incest exceptions to abortion bans.

Gunn, a Republican, was speaking during a press conference after the reversal of Roe v. Wade. A Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy was at the center of the Supreme Court opinion that overturned the constitutional right to an abortion. The law includes exceptions for a medical emergency or "severe fetal abnormality," but none for pregnancies resulting from incest or rape.

When a reporter asked Gunn about the possibility of an exception in cases of incest, he said he was unsure "what the Legislature's appetite" would be for adding such an exception to the law.

The reporter then asked if he thought Mississippi's legislature should take another look at the matter, to which Gunn replied: "Personally, no. I do not."

"I believe life begins at conception. And every life is valuable. Those are my personal beliefs," he said.

Another reporter pressed Gunn on the point, asking if a 12-year-old child molested by her father or uncle should carry a resulting pregnancy to term.

"That is my personal belief," Gunn replied, reiterating his stance that life begins at conception.

Gunn added that he wanted the day to be about the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

"I want today to be about the fact that we have seen an end to abortion in this country. These other things that y'all are talking about are certainly things we can talk about moving forward. I do not want those things to detract from the significance of this day," he said.

—Ashton Pittman (@ashtonpittman) June 29, 2022


An even more restrictive "trigger law" is set to take effect in Mississippi next week after the attorney general certified it on Monday. That law bans all abortions, with exceptions if the mother's life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of a rape that has been reported. It does not include an exception for incest.

Exceptions for rape and incest have long been popular among conservatives. Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has supported exceptions to abortions bans for cases of rape, incest, or harm to the mother, but that appears to be changing.

An increasing number of Republican lawmakers have come out in opposition to such exceptions, including Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts. Of the 13 trigger laws set to take effect upon the fall of Roe, all contain exceptions for the mother's health but most do not include exceptions for rape or incest.

Gunn did not respond to Insider's request for comment.

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