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More Babies Born After Dobbs Decision

Betty Hodge knows what it’s like to have an unplanned pregnancy. And she knows what it’s like to have the father of the unborn child push for an abortion. She’s been there. But she didn’t seriously consider terminating her pregnancy, because she didn’t feel alone. Hodge said, “Thankfully I had a family that was supportive.” She now works at a pregnancy resource center in Jackson, Mississippi, so she can provide that same support for other mothers in need.

These days, she sees a lot of them. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade (in 2022), allowing the state of Mississippi to pass a law banning all abortions except to save the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest that have been reported to police. The clinic that gave its name to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case shut down in July. It was the state’s only abortion provider. So, while women may still travel to Florida, New York, or Illinois to terminate a pregnancy, abortion has effectively ended in the Magnolia State.

The state health office estimates this will result in an additional 5,000 babies being born in Mississippi in 2023. The pro-life movement there is eager to celebrate each of these precious lives, but they’re also aware of other upsetting statistics: Mississippi has the highest rate of preterm births—over 30 percent more than the national average. The state has the highest infant mortality rate in the US, with nearly nine of every 1,000 babies dying. And for the infants who live to be toddlers, 28 percent will live in poverty.

Hodge doesn’t shy away from these hard facts. For her, this is part of the work of being pro-life. ... And with the state expecting 5,000 more babies in 2023, she sees an opportunity to put pro-life beliefs into practice and show that Christians care. She said, “If we’re going to say we stand for life, then it’s pertinent for us to stand up and say we don’t just care about the unborn child. As a church, we have an opportunity to make a difference.”

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