Judge temporarily blocks Mississippi's new abortion law

23 March 2018, 09:17 | Isaac Mcdaniel

Mississippi Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortion After 15 Weeks, but Judge Blocks Law

Mississippi law bans abortions past 15 weeks gestation

The proposal in OH comes just as Bryant authorized legislation banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy in MS, the earliest abortion ban in the country.

MS only has one medical facility that performs abortions in the state, Jackson Women's Health, and the clinic has vowed to fight the new law.

Lawyer Rob McDuff says the clinic wants a federal judge to impose a temporary restraining order by Tuesday.

"The Supreme Court says every woman has a constitutional right to "personal privacy" regarding her body", Reeves wrote in a brief decision that quoted previous legal rulings on abortion. "We are saving more of the unborn than any state in America, and what better thing we could do", said Bryant, a Republican serving his second term.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant made the comments while he signed the law Monday in a closed ceremony, according to a video his office posted to social media.

But abortion opponents praised the governor's signing of the bill Monday and Jameson Taylor of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy argued that it is legally sound.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order requested by the state's only abortion clinic. He said viability was considered to be around 28 weeks at the time of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide, and about 23 or 24 weeks in more recent court cases.

Republican legislative leaders Lt. Gov Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn both attended Bryant's private signing ceremony. The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic opposes the law and has pledged to sue.

Many states have approved abortion bans that protect unborn children after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the most they are able to do considering the Supreme Court refuses to allow states to ban abortions entirely. "It is in states like MS where the greatest progress toward righting it is being made", she added.

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Paul Barnes, a special assistant state attorney general, argued that the law serves Mississippi's "interest in protecting maternal health and the state's interest in protecting unborn life".

The afternoon the bill was signed, a member of the 40 Days for Life prayer team stood at the entrance to Jackson Women's Health Organization.

In papers filed earlier Monday evening, the Jackson Women's Health Organization and a physician who practices there stated that a woman who is 15 weeks or more pregnant is scheduled to have an abortion Tuesday afternoon. The woman previously underwent counseling more than 24 hours in advance, as required by a longstanding MS law.

Reeves did not rule from the bench but said he would rule as soon as possible.

Abortion rights advocates are calling the law unconstitutional because it limits abortion before fetuses can live outside the womb.

If approved, it is unclear how Louisiana's 15-week abortion ban would hold up in court.

The law does not exempt pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

The law's only exceptions are if a fetus has health problems making it "incompatible with life" outside of the womb at full term, or if a pregnant woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened by pregnancy.



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