Judge temporarily blocks MS law banning abortions after 15 weeks

The Jackson Women's Health Organization, in a lawsuit handled by the Center of Reproductive Rights, argued the measure is unconstitutional and should immediately be struck down.

Looking for news you can trust? He sought the restraining order because the new MS law would have prevented a 15-weeks pregnant woman from getting the procedure, which was scheduled Tuesday.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based abortion rights group, said in a news release that the MS bill violated a Supreme Court precedent, established in Roe v. Wade, that states may not ban abortions before they are deemed viable outside the womb, including with "artificial aid". The clinic argued in its request to put the law on hold that it would have an immediate effect on at least one woman who is scheduled to undergo an abortion at 15 weeks Tuesday afternoon, in requesting the temporary restraining order.

In a telephone interview late on Monday, Diane Derzis, the owner of the clinic, said that a young woman whose pregnancy was beyond the 15-week limit was scheduled for an abortion on Tuesday.

The suit says the clinic performed 78 abortions in 2017 when the fetus was identified as being 15 weeks or older. "A brief delay in enforcing a law of dubious constitutionality does not outweigh that harm, and in fact serves the public's interest in preserving the freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution". The clinic only performs the procedure through the 16th week of pregnancy. He told The Associated Press he is proud MS is taking steps to protect "the most vulnerable of human life:" the unborn.

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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. Soon after signing the bill, the governor tweeted: "I was proud to sign House Bill 1510 this afternoon".

Bryant says the law is created to "make MS the safest place in America for an unborn child".

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in an emailed statement that the law is a major step toward accomplishing Mississippi's goal to protect the lives of the unborn.

Republican legislative leaders Lt. Gov Tate Reeves and House Speaker Philip Gunn both attended Bryant's private signing ceremony. The woman previously underwent counseling more than 24 hours in advance, as required by a longstanding MS law. The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic opposes the law and has pledged to sue. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest aren't exempted. Anti-abortion activists and legislatures often push restrictive new legislation with the understanding that they will face legal challenges in the hopes of taking those cases to the Supreme Court, where they could have a chance at chipping away at national abortion policy.

The bill's definition of "severe fetal abnormality" is "a life-threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life-saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb".

  • Sonia Alvarado