The Women’s Fund of Mississippi does not support HB 151. The bill proposes that a physician or midwife who delivers a baby of a minor who is under 16 years of age must preserve umbilical cord blood in order to determine if the pregnancy was a result of a sex crime against a minor.
The Women’s Fund of Mississippi opposes this bill for two reasons. First, the message that older men preying on younger women is the reason for the state’s high teenage pregnancy rate is problematic. Studies show that 70% of teen girls are either the same age or one to two years younger than their first male partner at first sex. That idea for the bill is not representative of the reality of teen sexual encounters.
Second, we believe that the enforcement of the bill may harm young women. Young women who don’t want their rapist to be identified might not choose to receive medical care in a hospital or safe setting thereby causing harm to themselves and their baby.
The Women’s Fund believes the best way to protect young women, tackle the high teen birth rate, and reduce the unintended pregnancy rate is through access to teen friendly health services and contraception, comprehensive sex education, as well as creating access to opportunity for those young women.