Miss. bill aims to reduce sexual abuse of minors

By The Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers have passed the final version of a bill that aims to help authorities find and prosecute adults who sexually abuse minors.

House Bill 16 is headed to Gov. Phil Bryant, who says he intends to sign it.

It would require health professionals, clergy, educators, child care providers, law enforcement officers and commercial photo processors to tell authorities about any suspected sexual abuse of children

It also would require anyone doing an abortion on a girl younger than 14 to preserve a sample of fetal tissue for a DNA test, which would determine if an adult impregnated the girl so prosecutors could file statutory rape charges.

Lawmakers removed an earlier proposal to allow lawsuits against anyone helping a minor get an abortion by violating Mississippi’s parental consent law.