Mississippi Free Press reporter Ashton Pittman caught Speaker Gunn’s horrifying comments about pregnant 12-year-old rape and incest victims: “I believe life begins at conception. And every life is valuable.” But it couldn’t be clearer that Gunn and his Republican cronies think some lives are more valuable than others. For starters, Pittman noted that child pregnancies carry significantly higher health risks.
Once the baby is born, its life also becomes a lot less valuable to Gunn. Gunn says he is forming a commission to improve foster care and adoptions and to hold fathers more accountable. But Mississippi Free Press also notes that Gunn has opposed life-saving legislation for those already born:
But during the last legislative term alone, Speaker Gunn killed or declined to support efforts to provide health care options for new mothers. This spring, Republican Mississippi Sen. Kevin Blackwell, R-Southaven, sponsored a bill that would have ensured low-income new mothers in Mississippi have access to postpartum Medicaid coverage for 12 months after giving birth. Currently, that coverage is only available for two months.
Apparently, Gunn thought the postpartum bill looked too much like Medicaid expansion:
Gunn, the past chairman of the board of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council, has long opposed expanding Medicaid broadly in the state, not just postpartum coverage. Studies estimate that as many as 300,000 working Mississippians who make too much for traditional Medicaid but not enough to afford health insurance could gain health-care access if the state accepted billions from the federal government to expand the program.
“As I’ve said very publicly, I’m opposed to Medicaid expansion,” Gunn told the AP on March 9, erroneously conflating general Medicaid expansion with the targeted postpartum extension. “We need to look for ways to keep people off, not put them on.”
Gunn also complained that questions about forced birth for child rape or incest victims would “detract from” celebrating the Roe v. Wade reversal.