2018 Mississippi Code
Title 43 - Public Welfare
Chapter 17 - Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
§ 43-17-35. Establishment of task force on out-of-wedlock pregnancies.

Universal Citation: MS Code § 43-17-35 (2018)
  • (1) In the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193), the United States Congress made the following findings relating to out-of-wedlock pregnancies:

    • (a) The increase of out-of-wedlock pregnancies and births is well documented.

    • (b) An effective strategy to combat teenage pregnancy must address the issue of male responsibility, including statutory rape culpability and prevention. The increase of teenage pregnancies among the youngest girls is particularly severe and is linked to predatory sexual practices by men who are significantly older.

    • (c) The negative consequences of an out-of-wedlock birth on the mother, the child, the family and society are well documented.

    • (d) Currently thirty-five percent (35%) of children in single-parent homes are born out of wedlock, nearly the same percentage as that of children in single-parent homes whose parents are divorced. While many parents find themselves, through divorce or tragic circumstances beyond their control, facing the difficult task of raising children alone, nevertheless, the negative consequences of raising children in single-parent homes are well documented.

    • (e) Therefore, in light of this demonstration of the crisis in our nation, it is the sense of the Congress that prevention of out-of-wedlock births are very important government interests and the policy contained in this legislation is intended to address the crisis.

  • (2) The Department of Human Services shall establish a task force in compliance with Public Law 104-193, consisting of public and private organizations and individuals to review the incidence and circumstances of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi. Based on these findings, goals will be established by the task force and a specific program will be recommended to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi, as well as the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the program, with special emphasis on teenage pregnancies. The task force will establish numerical goals for reducing the illegitimacy ratio of the state as defined by federal law through calendar year 2005. The task force shall publish its findings and recommendations with any proposed legislation in a report to the Governor and the Legislature to be made on or before January 1, 1998.

  • (3) The task force established under subsection (2) of this section shall continue in existence and shall study the effect that raising the statutory age of sexual consent to age sixteen (16) has on preventing and reducing the incidence of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi from July 1, 1998, to October 1, 2001. The task force shall consider whether raising the age of sexual consent to an age above age sixteen (16) would be more effective in preventing and reducing the incidence of teenage out-of-wedlock pregnancies in Mississippi. The task force shall publish its findings and recommendations, together with any proposed legislation, in a report to the Governor and the Legislature on or before January 1, 2002.

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