Mississippi Defunding the Abortion Industry Act (SB 2159)
This law was last updated on Feb 1, 2018
SB 2159 would prohibit the use of public funds, whether by direct appropriation by the legislature, by grant funding, by student tuition or fees, or by the use of public facilities, for an abortion or for training to perform an abortion or for family planning services.
The prohibition on the use of public funds for abortion services would not apply if the life of the pregnant patient was in danger.
Prohibition on the Use of Public Funds
The bill would prohibit any public funds (federal, state, or local), or monies paid by students as part of tuition or fees to a state university or a community college, from being used in any way for, to assist in, or to provide facilities for an abortion or for training to perform an abortion.
The bill would make it unlawful for any person employed by the state, within the scope of the person’s employment, to perform or assist in an abortion.
Additionally, no fund or committee authorized by the state or any agency thereof for the special protection of women or children may be authorized to use or distribute public funds for the payment of abortions, abortion referrals, abortion counseling, or abortion-related services.
No organization that receives funds authorized or appropriated by the state may use those funds to perform or promote abortions, provide counseling in favor of abortion, or to make referrals for abortions.
The bill would prohibit any public institution, public facility, public equipment, or other physical asset owned, leased, or controlled by the state from being used for the purpose of performing or assisting an abortion.
It would also be unlawful for any public institution or facility to lease or sell its facilities to or property or permit the subleasing of its facilities or property to any physician or health facility for use in the provision or performance of abortion.
Under this bill, no applicant, student, teacher or employee of any public school or university would be required to pay any fees that would, in whole or in part, fund an abortion or insurance coverage for an abortion for any other applicant, student, teacher or employee of that school.
Contracting with Abortion Providers
The bill would prohibit any hospital, clinic, or other health facility owned or operated by the state, a county, a city, or other governmental entity from entering into any contract with any physician or health facility under the terms of which such physician or health facility agrees to provide or perform abortions.
The bill would prohibit public funds from being used for any research project that involves the performance of abortion, human cloning, or prohibited human research.
Any research project that receives an award of public funds would need to maintain financial records that demonstrate strict compliance with this provision.
Any audit conducted pursuant to any grant or contract awarding public funds would also need to certify whether there is compliance with this provision) and must note any noncompliance as a material audit finding.
School-Based Health Clinics
The bill would prohibit any facility operating (or any employee working) on public school property from performing, counseling, or referring for abortion services, or dispensing emergency contraception.
The State Department of Education and local school districts would be prohibited from utilizing state funds for the procurement of abortions or distribution of emergency contraception.
Legal Fees/IOLTA Accounts
The prohibition of state funding would also apply to any legal fees or Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) funds from being used, directly or indirectly used to advocate for abortion services, or provide for legal assistance to any litigation which seeks to procure or compel any abortion services or public funding.
The bill would prohibit federal or state family planning funds from being used by contractors of the Department of Health or other department or agency to pay the direct or indirect costs, including, but not limited to, administrative costs and expenses, overhead, employee salaries, rent, and telephone and other utilities of performing, inducing, referring for, or counseling in favor of abortions.
State family planning funds would be prohibited from being granted, appropriated, or distributed to individuals or organizations that perform, induce, refer for abortion, or counsel in favor of abortions, or that have affiliates that perform, induce, refer for, or counsel in favor of abortions.
A family planning contractor, individual, organization, or entity applying for federal family planning funds administered or distributed by the Department of Health or other appropriate department would need to certify in writing on forms that it will not, directly or indirectly, use the funds to perform, induce, refer for abortion, or counsel in favor of abortions.
A family planning contractor that receives any federal and/or state family planning funds and is found not to be in compliance with the requirements of this provision would be enjoined from receiving any future funding and would be liable to return to the state the full amount of funds received within 30 days.
Any violation of this provision may result in a fine of $1,000 per day. Additionally, the Attorney General and the office of the local district attorney may institute legal action.
If passed, this law would take effect July 1, 2018.
Identical to SB 2170, which failed to pass in 2017.
Similar to SB 2326, which failed to pass in 2016.