Watch: Mississippi House Speaker Says 12-Year-Old Rape And Incest Victims Should Give Birth

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Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn says abortion should be illegal even for a 12-year-old rape victim carrying her father or uncle’s child. He made the remark to reporters in the hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, allowing state abortion bans to take effect.

“What about the case of a 12-year-old girl who was molested by her father or uncle?” Associated Press reporter Emily Wagster Pettus asked the Republican speaker on the Mississippi House floor on Friday, June 24.

Gunn said he did not know “what the Legislature’s appetite” would be for ensuring child rape and incest victims could obtain abortions. The state’s 15-week abortion ban does not include rape exceptions, but a 2007 Roe v. Wade trigger law that could become effective soon would allow rape exceptions early in a pregnancy only if the rape was reported to law enforcement—which does not happen in most incest cases.

“No, (the law) does not include an exception for incest,” Gunn said. “I don’t know that that will be changed.”

“Do you think the Legislature should revisit that?” Pettus asked.

“Personally, no. I do not,” Gunn said. “I believe life begins at conception. Every life is valuable. And those are my personal beliefs.” (Child pregnancies carry significantly higher health risks than adult pregnancies.)

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