Gov. Tate Reeves discusses likelihood of banning contraceptives on NBC’s ‘Meet The Press’

Published: May. 8, 2022 at 11:22 AM CDT|Updated: May. 8, 2022 at 4:56 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Governor Tate Reeves appeared on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, almost a week after a draft opinion from the Supreme Court of The United States had been leaked, suggesting that Roe v. Wade could be overturned.

It comes months after justices heard arguments on Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, and as more Republican-led states pass similar laws.

Justices heard oral arguments for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization back in December and the court’s decision would not be finalized until it is officially published.

Prior to his appearance Reeves took to his Twitter account to state that he and other pro-life advocates will continue to push for policies that “make abortion unnecessary.”

Host Chuck Todd explained that Mississippi would be one of 13 states with trigger laws that would ban abortion if Roe is overturned.

Todd asked Reeves would the 15-week-ban ever be implemented in the state of Mississippi if Roe is overturned.

Reeves explained that the 2007 trigger law was enacted when there was a Democrat Speaker of the House and a Democrat chairman of the Public Health Committee.

“When we enacted the 15-week-ban, our initial intent and our goal were to save babies’ lives...If in fact the leaked opinion is accurate and this court votes to overturn Roe, you are correct. Our trigger law will go into effect. We will ban abortions with the exceptions of rape and the life of the mother,” Reeves stated.

Todd explained that he noticed that cases of incest are not mentioned as exceptions to this law, to which Reeves explained that he was not in the legislature or executive branch at that time.

“That decision was made by the Mississippi legislature, and I think there is certainly a conversation...We’ll see what happens based upon the ultimate outcome of the Dobbs case that is before the Supreme Court.”

“What about contraceptives?” Todd asked, in which he inquired about the effect that the abortion ban would have on contraceptive methods such as IUDs.

Reeves stated that he does not believe it will apply to women who choose to use birth control.

“I believe that life begins at conception,” Reeves explained.

“I am trying very hard to make sure that everyone knows that the overturning of Roe certainly puts the decision-making on abortion policy back in the elective representatives in each of the 50 states. That’s where decision-making was in America for the first 200 years before 1972. I believe Roe was wrongly decided.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) stated that she believed that when you take away a woman’s right to make decisions about her health and wellbeing, she is no longer a “full citizen.”

“She no longer has freedom. She no longer has bodily autonomy. She no longer has basic rights or civil liberties.”

In response to Gillibrand’s statement, Reeves stated that there is no right to an abortion in the United States Constitution.

“There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution that precludes individual states from regulating abortion policy. I’m empathetic to all these ladies who find themselves in very difficult times and very difficult decisions. But what makes abortion different, if you believe as I believe, that there is an unborn child in the mother’s womb. We are trying to stand up for the rights of those unborn children. Stand up for those who absolutely cannot stand up for themselves.”

With Reeves stating that he believes that life starts at conception, Todd posed a question asking that if there is legislation brought to Reeves that bans contraceptives, would he sign it.

“Well, I don’t think that’ll happen in Mississippi. I’m sure they will have those conversations in other states,” the governor replied.

Getty Israel, founder of “Sister’s in Birth” in Jackson, says doing so would be a horrible idea.

“The question becomes do you really want to reduce abortion? Because the research shows if you do, you make sure women are having planned pregnancies,” said Israel. “And in order to do that, you make sure women in your state have easy access to the most affordable form of contraception.”

Israel says by simply banning abortions and putting money toward adoption services, foster care, and child protective services, the state is overlooking the health of the pregnant woman and ignoring the circumstances that lead to unhealthy births.

“If the governor and the pro life legislators who claim themselves to be are really serious about protecting the unborn, you can’t do so without protecting the pregnant woman,” said Israel. “You protect her by passing legislation that will forbid companies from discriminating against her, pay her a fair wage, and also if you’re not going to cover her medical benefits then at least give her 12 weeks of paid maternity leave.”

“There are so many things that we can talk about,” said Governor Reeves. “The next step in the pro-life movement is simple. We must prove that being pro-life is not just about anti-abortion. We want to continue to focus on the two things that are very important. That is ensuring that those expectant mothers have the resources that they need...The second piece of the equation is that we got to make sure that we make it easier on those babies that are born, either the potential of adoption services and bettering our foster care system.”

While Reeves began to list the many initiatives that the state of Mississippi has started to improve these aspects, Todd stated that “you’re a state (Mississippi) that doesn’t really do a good job of helping children.”

“One in three children in Mississippi live in poverty,” Todd explained.

“If you’re going to order women to stay pregnant... you’re talking about providing resources while they’re pregnant. What are you going to do for that child after they’re born...child poverty is already at a level that is unsustainable.”

The governor stated that his job as governor is to not hide Mississippi’s problems, but to find solutions to those problems.

Reeves explained that they are in the process of investing $100 million in technology for the Department of Child Protective Services.

“The way you address poverty is by improving educational attainment, improving educational outcomes, and improving the opportunities and job skills for those individuals so that they can go to work and provide for themselves and their families...I can tell you with certainty that Mississippi is working every day to address those issues.”

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