AUL’s news release on this subject can be found here.
That’s because when the opportunity came to introduce the bill in the legislature, it was actually too late in the session to do so. That meant the only way the bill could be heard this year was with a two-thirds vote to suspend the rules in both the House and Senate so the bill could be considered.
AUL State Director Terri Herring encouraged the legislature to do just that. In the Senate, Senators Alan Nunnelee and Billy Hewes were vital to the bill’s passage along with the key leadership of Lt. Governor Phil Bryant, whose office drafted the suspension resolution. The Senators understood the importance of the bill and quickly sent it to the House for consideration.
The House was a different story. The bill was assigned to the Public Health and Human Services Committee where Chairman Stephen Holland stood opposed to its passage. Knowing the bill would pass if it came up for a vote, he simply refused to allow the bill to be heard. On Friday April 23, it came time for the legislature to adjourn for the year and the bill was still sitting in Holland’s committee. Pro-life Representatives led by Philip Gunn and Andy Gibson blocked the adjournment of the session because doing so would have killed the opt-out bill. Without the vote to adjourn, legislators would have to return Saturday morning.
That night, AUL’s sister organization AUL Action sent an alert to their Mississippi activists encouraging them to call the Speaker of the House and ask him to allow the bill to come up for a vote the next morning. When the legislators arrived the next day, House leadership agreed to allow the opt-out bill to be brought to the floor where it passed overwhelmingly.
This victory could not have happened without the key leadership of Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, Sens. Alan Nunnelee and Billy Hewes, and Reps. Philip Gunn and Andy Gipson. About these legislators, AUL Mississippi State Director Terri Herring stated, “In Mississippi, most elected officials say they are ‘pro-life’ but what we really need is leadership. Those who were given this award provided more than just lip service, they actually led the charge to protect the public trust by preventing our tax dollars from providing for the destruction of human life in the name of health.”
AUL is privileged to work with these important leaders and to be able to honor them in this way. Here are some photos with AUL State Director Terri Herring presenting the awards to these pro-life friends.
Local blog Majority in Missippi also covered this issue.