MS Taking Umbilical Cord Blood In New Drive To Discourage Statutory Rape


Mississippi has embarked on a controversial campaign to discourage older men from having sex with teenagers, NPR reports. Starting next month, doctors and midwives will be required to collect samples of umbilical cord blood from babies born to some girls under the age of 16. Officials will analyze the samples and try to identify the fathers through matches in the state’s DNA database. “It is our hope that we can deter men over the age of 21 from having sex, particularly with girls 16 years and younger, particularly if they know we are going to pursue them,” said Attorney General Jim Hood. Officials said Mississippi is the first state in the country to try the approach. State statutory rape law applies if the two people are more than three years apart in age, until the girl is 16. If the mother is 15 and the father is 19, even if sex is consensual, it’s considered rape in the state. The law is a solution looking for a problem, says Jamie Holcomb-Bardwell of the Women’s Fund of Mississippi, who said few teen pregnancies involve very young girls and much older men.

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