One after another, multiple Republican state leaders spoke of the need to support mothers and young children at the Neshoba County Fair on Thursday, in the wake of abortion becoming almost entirely banned in Mississippi.

That said, Attorney General Lynn Fitch, Gov. Tate Reeves, and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn were hesitant to make commitments on policy positions like the potential expansion of postpartum Medicaid.

Mississippi has the highest rates of infant mortality and teen birth in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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In her speech, Fitch supported maternity and paternity leave in the state, along with stricter enforcement of child support laws and changes to make adoption less difficult.

“We move into a post-Roe world,” Fitch said, calling the new reality “an opening for us to seize the moment.”

Attorney General Lynn Fitch speaks at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 28, 2022.

While Fitch advocated for certain broad goals, she later said she would not advocate for or against postpartum Medicaid expansion, saying that decision is up to the legislature.

“Whenever the legislature makes their decision, we’ll be ready too,” Fitch said. “We only just support what they pass.”

Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves speaks at the Neshoba County Fair in Philadelphia, Miss., Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Reeves advocated for a “new pro-life agenda” that supports mothers and children in a June 2 op-ed and said he is still in the process of putting that agenda together.

“What you’re going to see is a conversation over the next few months about various things that we need to do,” Reeves said. “What it does include is making sure that moms that are pregnant have the resources that they need.”

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