Miss. lawmaker behind high court appeal says effort 'well worth it'

Miss. lawmaker behind high court appeal says effort 'well worth it'

An artist sketch depicts Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart while speaking to the U.S. Supreme Court justices Wednesday, Dec. 1. 

Miss. lawmaker behind high court appeal says effort 'well worth it'

The state lawmaker in Mississippi whose abortion-banning bill was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court says he was proud to play a key role in this week’s legal drama because the goal is saving unborn babies.

The nation’s highest court on Tuesday oversaw oral arguments for approximately two hours in what is expected to be a landmark case that could overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling from 1973.

This week’s pivotal court hearing can be traced to Mississippi Senate, where Sen. Joey Fillingane introduced legislation in 2018 that bans abortions after 15 weeks gestation.

Then-Gov. Phil Bryant signed that bill into law, which was described as the nation’s toughest law at the time, and then came the lawsuits from abortion supporters. After a federal appeals court struck down the state law in 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court turned lots of heads when it agreed to the State of Mississippi’s request to hear an appeal.

The case argued this week is Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Sen. Fillingane, who has introduced pro-life bills for years in the state legislature, tells American Family News critics have complained the lawmaker is “wasting time and taxpayer money” on abortion when he could focus on more “relevant” issues facing the state.

When a pro-life bill was being debated by state lawmakers last year, an abortion-rights activist complained the legislature should “stop wasting time and energy” on attempting to “police the reproductive rights” of Mississippians.

“I would just say to them, This is the most un-frivolous issue that we could possibly take up,” he says of that complaint.  

Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the Union, also has one of the largest black populations. Most unborn babies killed in abortion are black, a stark reality that was addressed by a pro-life bill authored by Fillingane in 2020. 

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider, has long been accused of opening its clinics in minority communities where it preys on desperate black women.

Gov. Reeves, a Republican who is staunchly pro-life, signed the Fillingane-authored bill last year that bans abortions based on race and on fetal abnormalities such as Down syndrome. The bill exempted medical emergencies.

Reacting to this week’s Supreme Court hearing, Laura Knight of Pro-Life Mississippi says pro-lifers need to pray for the coming Dobbs ruling. 

“We don’t know what the judge’s decision will be,” she tells AFN. “It could be early summer. So we continue to pray for these justices, pray for our culture, [and] continue learning and speaking about life.”

“We're prayerful and certainly very hopeful that they're going to make a decision in favor of protecting unborn lives in our country and Mississippi in particular,” Fillingane says. “But I think it was well worth it."