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Barbour: Doctors need abortion choices, too

By Staff
ABORTION PROPOSAL Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour outlines his abortion proposal at a news conference Monday at the Center for Pregnancy Choices. Also attending the news conference was center founder Craig Ziemba, left, and Barbour's wife, Marsha.
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 22, 2003
Republican gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour said Monday that Mississippi needs a law allowing health care providers to conscientiously object to performing abortions because of religious beliefs.
Barbour also lashed out at the American Civil Liberties Union, calling it an organization that promotes abortions rather than freedom of choice.
Barbour outlined his proposal during a news conference at the Center for Pregnancy Choices in Meridian. He was joined by his wife, Marsha, and the Rev. Donald Wildmon of Tupelo, president of the American Family Association.
Party primary
Barbour, a longtime Republican and former chairman of the Republican National Committee, faces Ridgeland attorney Mitch Tyner in the Aug. 5 GOP primary.
The winner will meet the Democratic nominee, expected to be incumbent Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, in the Nov. 4 general election.
Barbour criticized the ACLU for producing "a report and advocacy kit with the goal of requiring all hospitals to perform abortions and other procedures which violate their conscientious convictions."
Representatives with the ACLU office in Jackson could not be reached for comment.
Barbour also proposed a one-time state tax credit of up to $5,000 for couples to help pay legal expenses associated with adopting a child.
Abortion alternatives
The Center for Pregnancy Choices of Meridian held an open house in November at its offices in North Meridian. Founder Craig Ziemba said the center first opened about one year ago. It is supported mostly by individuals.
Ziemba, a former U.S. Navy pilot who now flies for the Mississippi National Guard, said individuals fund about 60 percent of the center's cost. Churches cover another 35 percent and money from the sale of "Choose Life" car tags fund the other 5 percent.
He said funding from car tags was about $1,800. According to Karen Sims, director of the center, about 50 women have been counseled at the center. Ziemba said at least 10 clients have had their unplanned babies as opposed to abortion.
The center's mission is to connect women with unplanned pregnancies to support services and to convince them to carry their infants to full term.
The center's services are free and include confidential pregnancy tests; education on pregnancy, sexual health and abortion alternatives; baby clothes and other items; referrals to community agencies; parenting education; adoption referrals; and post-abortion support.
Ziemba said the center is one of about 20 in the state.