Published: Fri, March 23, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

A Federal Court Has Already Blocked Mississippi's Unconstitutional 15-Week Abortion Ban

A Federal Court Has Already Blocked Mississippi's Unconstitutional 15-Week Abortion Ban

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant moved one step closer to his goal to end abortion in the Magnolia State when he signed the nation's most restrictive anti-choice bill on Monday, which outlaws the procedure after 15 weeks of gestation.

Louisiana legislators may soon consider a proposal that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, following in the footsteps of MS lawmakers, who on Monday (March 19) signed a similar bill into law. The state's only abortion clinic quickly sued.

"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 certainly think this bill is unconstitutional", said Katherine Klein, equality advocacy coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.

"We'll probably be sued in about half an hour", Bryant said to laughter from supporters as he signed the bill.

The U.S. Senate failed to pass a 20-week abortion ban bill in January. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of MS and listed both the Jackson Women's Health Organization and the abortion provider's resident physician, Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis, as plaintiffs.

"Under decades of United States Supreme Court precedent, the state of MS can not ban abortion prior to viability, regardless of what exceptions are provided to the ban", the suit states. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510 on Monday, and it became law immediately.

MS passed the law after the U.S. Senate rejected a measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks.

In commending the state's lawmakers, Bishops Kopacz and Kihneman also criticized lawmakers in Congress who let the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act fail in the House of Representatives. He asked: "Does the state have the right to trump the woman's right to have control over her decisions, over her body?" Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis of the Jackson Women's Health Organization stated in court papers that a woman 15 weeks or more pregnant is scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon abortion.

A federal judge in MS will hear arguments Tuesday over whether he should block the nation's most restrictive abortion law less than 24 hours after it took effect. As recently as 2011, there were seven abortion providers in Louisiana, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion rights group that tracks state laws and abortion providers nationwide.

McDuff said the law keeps women "from making their own decisions about whether to bear children". "Courts have consistently struck down similar bans on abortion before viability as unconstitutional", the center said in a statement.

The measure, which went into effect immediately, includes some exceptions, like if a woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened or if the fetus has a health problem that would mean it likely wouldn't survive outside the womb.

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

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