Governor decries temporary block on abortion law

The most restrictive abortion law in the United States was in effect less than 24 hours before a federal judge temporarily blocked it Tuesday during what could become a long legal fight between Mississippi's Republican governor and the state's only abortion clinic. But Mississippi is pushing the envelope by banning abortion starting at 15 weeks.

MS already bans abortion at 20 weeks and has long had some of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the country.

The same day, the nonprofit Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which had gone into effect immediately.

The Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life organization, praised Bryant and state lawmakers "for their commitment to making MS "the safest place in America" for unborn children and their mothers".

"By banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the law violates decades of well-established, clear precedent under the U.S. Constitution". This is typically considered between 24 to 26 weeks gestation, the group said.

The bill, titled the Gestational Age Act, penalizes doctors who perform post-15 weeks abortions and only includes exceptions for medical emergencies or a "severe fetal abnormality". There are only two exceptions to the ban: if an unborn child has health problems that would make him or her "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 continuing the pregnancy.

Cincinnati.com pointed out that the bill is unlikely to pass. OH governor John Kasich previously vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions after a fetus's heartbeat could be detected, which could be as early as six weeks.


"I was proud to sign House Bill 1510 this afternoon", Bryant said on Twitter.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves late Monday scheduled arguments Tuesday morning over whether he should immediately block the law after a request by the state's only abortion clinic and a physician who works there. 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.

Bryant seemed to predict Tuesday's lawsuit, saying "We'll probably be sued here in about a half hour, and that'll be fine with me".

Abortion rights advocates are calling the law unconstitutional because it limits abortion before fetuses can live outside the womb. "That right protects her choice "to have an abortion before viability.' States can not 'prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision" to do so".

Supporters of the pro-choice movement and the Jackson Women's Health Organization on the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade in 2013.

"There is no doubt that this unconstitutional abortion ban will harm MS women and families".

"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. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest aren't exempted.


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