Governor decries temporary block on abortion law

23 March, 2018, 21:13 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Quick challenge for Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban

On the same day that MS governor Phil Bryant signed a bill into law officially banning most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, two Republican lawmakers in OH are proposing legislation that could ban abortions completely in the state. The law went into effect immediately, giving MS the honor of having the most stringent abortion ban in the United States.

The Jackson Women's Health Organization, along with one of the physicians that works for the clinic, sued in federal court over the new ban on abortions after 15 weeks, claiming that the measure is unconstitutional.

"The law threatens immediate, irreparable harm to Mississippians" abilities to control their "destiny and. body, '" District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in his brief, two-page decision on Tuesday. The governor said the law "protects maternal health and will further our efforts to make MS the safest place in America for an unborn child".

The law and responding challenge set up a confrontation sought by abortion opponents, who are hoping federal courts will ultimately prohibit abortions before a fetus is viable.

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.

The U.S. Senate failed to pass a 20-week abortion ban bill in January. The state has a "trigger law", which would immediately make abortion illegal in the state should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade.

House Speaker Philip Gunn was present when Bryant signed the bill into law. He says MS is "saving more of the unborn than any state in America".

Three clinics in Louisiana perform abortions and the process to access the procedure has been heavily regulated by state lawmakers.


Dr. Willie Parker, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, said in a statement that the legislation in MS is unconstitutional, and illustrates how women in the South are being denied access to reproductive care.

Clinic owner Diane Derzis told The Associated Press that the woman was able to have the abortion Tuesday after Reeves temporarily blocked the law. It also asked the court to block the ban, a particularly urgent request because a woman was scheduled to have a 15-week abortion Tuesday afternoon.

Mississippi's governor has signed the nation's tightest abortion restrictions into law.

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

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

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

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