The Mississippi state House today approved a bill to protect unborn babies and moms from abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
State House Bill 1510 would create the earliest ban on abortion in any state in the U.S. by pushing back Mississippi’s current limit by 5 weeks. The bill would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks except when there are risks to the life or physical health of the mother, or fatal fetal anomalies.
State records show about 200 abortions a year are performed on babies who are between 15 and 20 weeks old at the time they are killed in the abortion.
State Rep. Andy Gipson, chairman of the state House Judiciary B Committee, said they want to protect women’s health by prohibiting later-term abortions, which are riskier to women, the report states.
“The risk to the mother is the prime driver in this bill,” the Republican lawmaker said. “I think the Supreme Court has recognized that the states have an interest in protecting human life.”
The state House voted 79-30 for the bill and the measure passed with Republicans and some Democrats supporting it.
Mississippi currently is one of more than a dozen states that prohibits abortions after 20 weeks. Owners of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in the state, said they do abortions up to 18 weeks. The abortion center is considering a legal challenge if the bill passes.
At this point, it is unclear if such a bill would withstand a court challenge. President Donald Trump promised to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court, and pro-life advocates praised his choice of Neil Gorsuch; however, there still is a majority of judges on the high court who do not think unborn babies deserve a right to life.
Several years ago, North Dakota and Arkansas passed bills to prohibit abortions after an unborn baby has a detectable heartbeat (about six weeks), but federal courts struck down both laws.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about the bills: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the cases in 2016.