Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves issued a powerful statement about protecting mothers’ and babies’ lives Thursday when he signed legislation expanding postpartum care for new mothers through Medicaid.
“Today in Mississippi, we have turned our attention to furthering our new pro-life agenda, and delivering the support moms and babies need,” Reeves said in a statement. “… if there’s one thing we should all agree on, it’s that we must do everything in our power to lower barriers for expectant moms to bring new babies into the world and to choose life.”
The pro-life legislation, Senate Bill 2212, passed the Republican-led state legislature by a strong majority this winter; it extends Medicaid coverage from two months to one year for new mothers.
Last year, Mississippi led the way to overturning Roe v. Wade in the historic Dobbs v. Jackson case. Now, the state protects unborn babies by banning abortions, and approximately 5,000 more children are expected to be born this year as a result, according to Christianity Today.
However, the state also has a high poverty rate and low access to maternal and infant health care, and pro-life advocates have made those needs a big focus of their work post-Roe.
Reeves said the Dobbs decision was “the single greatest conservative victory in a generation,” and celebrated the fact that millions of babies’ lives will be saved in the years to come.
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However, he also acknowledged that pro-lifers’ work is far from over, and pregnant and parenting mothers need better support.
“When Mississippi started the fight to overturn Roe, pro-abortion advocates never gave us a chance at succeeding,” Reeves said. “Now, they’re counting us out when it comes to delivering the support moms need to raise healthy babies. Mississippi will once again prove the pro-abortion advocates wrong – but only if we don’t quit our pro-life fight now that Roe has been struck down.”
Although Reeves said he opposes expanding Medicaid in other cases, he believes providing the additional health care to new mothers and their babies is the right thing to do to help restore a culture of life in America.
“This is one more thing that we can do to tip the scales in favor of life. And that has to be our priority,” he said.
Pro-life advocates all across the country are expanding support for pregnant and parenting families, both through legislative and community-based initiatives.
Many are working to expand Medicaid for new mothers, create tax credits for unborn babies and ensure workplace accommodations (paid parental leave, flexible hours) for parents. Others are opening and expanding pregnancy resource centers, maternity homes and other community-based charities that walk alongside struggling families locally, providing material support, information, counseling, encouragement and more.
In one powerful example of the pro-life movement’s dedication to serving mothers in need, last summer, actress Patricia Heaton, pro-life leader Lila Rose and others helped to raise $50,000 in 24 hours for a young Texas mother and her twin girls after she told the New York Times how the state abortion ban prevented her from aborting her babies.
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