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Female lawmaker who authored Mississippi's abortion ban talks what's next in a post-Roe world

Supreme Court, Abortion
Anti-abortion campaigners celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2022. - The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday ended legal abortion nationwide in one of the most divisive and bitterly fought issues in American political life. The court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and said individual states can permit or restrict the procedure themselves. |

The Mississippi lawmaker who authored the state's 15-week abortion ban upheld by the United States Supreme Court, which also overturned Roe v. Wade, believes legislators now have a responsibility to enact policies that support women and children.

State Rep. Becky Currie, who worked in labor and delivery early on in her nursing career, told The Christian Post that she never dreamed Mississippi’s Gestational Age Act would make its way to the Supreme Court.

In the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the court upheld Mississippi's abortion law and overturned the 1973 Roe decision that legalized abortion nationwide, thus returning the authority to regulate abortion back to individual states.

“This whole thing, looking back, being a nurse and delivering babies ... who would have thought a nurse would have run for the legislature and then written a bill and then our Supreme Court changes?” Currie said of her surprise. 

“It was just too perfect how it happened for me to be responsible for it. So I think this is God's way for sure.”

Having been a single mother of two daughters throughout much of her working life, Currie said that experience has enabled her to empathize with women struggling to make ends meet because the father isn't there to help. It's also given her insight into how states and other entities can best help mothers, which she detailed in an interview with CP that has been lightly edited and condensed.

CP: One of the concerns we’re hearing from the pro-choice side is that pro-life states passing laws against abortion aren’t doing anything to support pregnant women and their children. Are there concerns about fiscal conservatives being hesitant to expand financial support for women and children? Do you think states that enact abortion restrictions have a responsibility to pass policies that alleviate some of the struggles that mothers with newborns face? 

Currie: Oh, I absolutely do. I think it's our responsibility to make sure that health care is accessible to women. We've got to make sure that that is accessible for people going in for a visit. 

So I encourage yearly healthcare. I think it's vitally important. But we've gotten away from it in Mississippi years ago. In trying to balance our budget, we decreased funding for the state health department.  

There's no way to get healthcare if you don't have insurance. And there are so many jobs that women have that don't provide insurance. It is our responsibility now to help these women navigate the healthcare world.

We're going to have to make sure that adoption is easier. We're going to have to make sure that deadbeat dads pay child support. We're going to have to make sure that all of this, all of the governmental things that are supposed to be there to help these children are there to help them.

CP: You’ve mentioned that adoption should be readily available and affordable. How can legislators make that happen? What are some of the problems with the way adoption is done now? How can we make the adoption process less expensive? Is that possible?

Currie: Well, we are looking into it. It seems to me, based on the lawyers that I've talked to, [adoption] is a huge moneymaker. We've got to realize we need to make sure these children have a safe and happy home. But if we want them to go to a safe and happy home, it's got to be affordable.

CP: What about child support? Should legislators strengthen punishments for fathers who don’t pay child support?

Currie: It's already a felony, and I believe it has gotten a little bit too lax. We have a law in the state of Mississippi that 14% of your income goes to child support for one child. That's ridiculous.  

So there has got to be more incentive for the man to pay and be involved in the child's life. Everything cannot fall on the woman. 

CP: What kind of post-partum care policies should legislators look to enact? What struggles do new mothers often face when it comes to post-partum care?

Currie: bill came up last year, but for some reason, it didn’t pass. But in all the talks that I have heard that bill will pass this year, and we're going to expand postpartum care six months to a year after a child is born. Right now, I think it's 60 days.

You know, when you have a baby, your life is turned upside down. So we want that mother to get back to the doctor and get the care that she needs. She may have postpartum depression. These are just things that we need to be supportive of our moms more than we are.

CP: Is access to birth control important? What policies need to be enacted to make sure that birth control is more accessible and affordable for women? 

Currie: It’s something we have to do, and if we don't do it, then our other systems will be overrun.

CP: Not all pro-lifers seem to agree on the birth control issue. How has your support for birth control been received by pro-life advocates in Mississippi?

Currie: I absolutely understand. I would love some women to wait until marriage. I'm a Christian. I want that to happen. But I do, as a nurse, live in the real world. And I understand that we're going to have issues if we don't provide it.

CP: Are there any family-centered policies going on in other states that you’re intrigued by that you would want to see done in Mississippi?

Currie: We are watching the whole thing. I have several bills about the health department; I have several bills about child support. One of the bills that I actually got from our senator, Cindy Hyde-Smith, she filed the bill in the Senate, which intrigues me that child support would begin at pregnancy.

So I like the idea that the support would begin at pregnancy. I think that this is going to get more men involved in the child's life and help them realize their responsibility.  

CP: Georgia has received a lot of attention lately for a policy that approves a tax break for unborn children. What are your thoughts on this policy, and do you see it catching on in pro-life conservative states?

Currie: I do. I think that we are trying to cut taxes here in Mississippi. We just did the largest tax cut in Mississippi this past year.

I know that we also give a tax break if you give to crisis pregnancy centers. We are looking at every kind of tax to see what we can do in a post-Roe world to make life better for women and children, so everything is on the table. 

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