Mississippi, Virginia Bills Target Teen Sexuality


State legislators in Mississippi and Virginia have introduced bills on emergency contraception and sodomy, respectively, that would challenge existing protections of teenagers’ reproductive health rights.

Mississippi’s HB 29 would require anyone under the age of 18 to get a prescription for emergency contraception, which flies in the face of federal policy. The Food and Drug Administration last summer approved the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B One-Step to be sold over the counter with no age restrictions.

Virginia’s SB 14 would partially revive the state’s “crimes against nature” law that federal courts found unconstitutional in March. The effect of that law would be to prohibit teenagers from having consensual oral or anal sex, and treat those sex acts differently from vaginal intercourse.

The sponsors of both bills have a well-established anti-choice record. Mississippi state Rep. Sam Mims (R-McComb) sponsored legislation in 2012 that threatened the last remaining abortion clinic in the state, while Virginia state Sen. Thomas Garrett (R-Lynchburg) ran as a “Cuccinelli conservative” and vowed to be the most conservative candidate in the field.

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli fought to keep the “crimes against nature” law on the books, but the courts struck the law down on 14th Amendment grounds because it criminalized private, noncommercial adult sexual contact. To try to get around the court’s ruling, Garrett’s law would exempt consenting adults who are not in a public place or involved in prostitution—meaning that 15- to 17-year-olds could not have consensual oral or anal sex at all, whether it was with another 15- to 17-year-old or with an adult. This would create a strange situation in Virginia law wherein 16-year-olds could marry but become felons if they had oral sex, and adults would be felons for merely asking 16-year-olds for oral sex, but only receive a misdemeanor charge for actually having vaginal sex with a 16-year-old.

Oklahoma enacted a law similar to Mississippi’s bill, which requires anyone under the age of 17 to obtain a prescription to access emergency contraception. That law is being challenged in court. Mississippi’s proposed law would go even further to restrict access because it requires valid identification and affects anyone under the age of 18.

The Virginia bill is unlikely to become law with pro-choice Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in office, but it is yet another sign that the mindset of McAuliffe’s opponent Cucinnelli lives on in the legislature.

The Mississippi bill may fare better given the state’s anti-choice government, and would further threaten women’s already inconsistent access to emergency contraception.

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  • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

    Why don’t these ForcedBirthers picket fertility doctors and clinics which abort numerous IMPLANTED embryos to ensure the health of one in fertility treatement?
    Can someone answer me?

    • HeilMary1

      They’ll run into THEMSELVES, RELATIVES and GOP BENEFACTORS??

      • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

        S’truth.

  • Ineedacoffee

    That is seriously f*cked up

  • lady_black

    Unconstitutional, and unenforceable. Age limits on Plan B? They can be ordered online, and obtained by a girl of any age who has an older sibling, older friend, sympathetic aunt, uncle, grandfather or grandmother, or by asking any random WalMart customer to purchase the pill for them. Or by asking Planned Parenthood for them. That’s what makes these laws so silly. They can’t keep Plan B out of the hands of teens. They can only create hassles for retailers.

  • CJ99

    The only crimes against nature here are those absurd legislators.

  • JamieHaman

    The wilfull deliberate passing of laws that clearly violate federal standards of health care are another way of draining taxpayer funds out of government, that certainly could be used much more responsibly. These Republican Legislatures are by no means being fiscally responsible, but their lawyer friends sure love it.