Rape Victim Sues Mississippi Over Abortion Policy

July 7, 2008 - 7:02 PM

(CNSNews.com) - In a test of Mississippi's Medicaid policy, a 12-year-old rape victim is suing the state for refusing to pay for the abortion she can't afford.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Jackson, claims Mississippi is violating a federal law that requires Medicaid coverage for poor women whose pregnancies are life-threatening or who were victims of rape of incest.

Mississippi allows Medicaid coverage for abortions only when a mother's life is in danger.

Wire services quote the head of the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union, who calls it a "terribly tragic" case. David Ingebretsen also said Mississippi's policy "is inhumane as well as unconstitutional."

"It is a problem when we have Medicaid-eligible women who have been raped and they're not able to get the procedures they're entitled to," Ingebretsen said. The Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union is representing the rape victim in the federal lawsuit

But some state lawmakers defend the policy. "When we involve using taxpayers' money to pay for abortions, we should be very limited in what we do," wire services quote Republican state Sen. Alan Nunnelee as saying. Although states cannot ban abortion, Nunnelee said they should be able to restrict it.