Time not right for abortion bill

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 9, 2006

Faced with growing economic problems and a fractured infrastructure &8212; both created by Hurricane Katrina &8212; our state lawmakers did what any good leaders would do: They ripped a scab off an unrelated wound.

With the state still reeling from the effects of the nation&8217;s worst natural disaster in recent history, the Legislature has returned to the abortion debate. Or more precisely, lawmakers have thrust the issue into the national spotlight again.

House members on Thursday passed a bill that would ban all abortions in the state except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the mother&8217;s life.

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The legality &8212; and morality &8212; of a woman&8217;s right to end a pregnancy has been debated for decades.

An almost identical law has already been passed in South Dakota. Since any such law will ultimately be tested by an almost certain Supreme Court challenge, why jump into the fire when doing so serves no purpose?

Mississippi has bigger issues to face. Stirring up one of the most controversial issues in the country serves only to cause more bickering and more division at a time when our state needs complete unity of focus and mission.

The last time we checked, a number of our state&8217;s residents were still picking up pieces of their shattered lives on the coast.

It would be nice to think our lawmakers haven&8217;t forgotten that and would focus on either resolving issues facing the coast or ending the session early to save some of our tax dollars.

Let another state, one perhaps with less urgent issues, be the test case of the nation&8217;s abortion laws. Mississippi needs a singular focus, not a divisive issue.