Local lawmakers doubt abortion bill’s chances

Published 6:00 am Thursday, March 30, 2006

Area lawmakers support a proposed abortion bill, but agree theodds are slim that it will be handed to the governor.

Legislators Tuesday extended deadlines for numerous bills,including one dealing with abortion. The extension gives lawmakersthe opportunity to renegotiate the bill until the end of thesession Sunday.

“I have not taken an active part in this abortion bill, but Ihave supported it in committee and on the floor,” said District 92Rep. Dr. Jim Barnett, R-Brookhaven. “I’m very pro-life. I willcontinue to support it.”

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The House was meeting today to discuss further action on thebill, he said.

District 53 Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, said he alsosupports the bill. Moak was appointed as a House conferee tonegotiate with the Senate on the differences between abortion billspassed in both chambers.

The bill was birthed in the Senate, where it would require thata pregnant woman be offered a sonogram to allow her to hear theheartbeat of the fetus before committing to an abortion.

Barnett said he did not feel strongly about the Senate’soriginal version of the bill.

“I don’t believe it would have done much,” he said.

The House altered the bill and returned a version that wouldhave banned most abortions in the state. The only exceptions to theban would be in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother’slife. It did not include the original sonogram proposal.

“The issue is the Senate sent a sonogram bill over and wereturned a ban,” Moak said. “The Senate hasn’t accepted ityet.”