The last abortion clinic in Mississippi is suing to overturn a new law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. The new abortion ban protects more unborn children than any other abortion ban in any other state. It’s already gotten a judge to block the new law.
Many states have approved abortion bans that protect unborn children after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the most they are able to do considering the Supreme Court refuses to allow states to ban abortions entirely. But Mississippi is pushing the envelope by banning abortion starting at 15 weeks.
There is just one abortion clinic left in the state of Mississippi and it is located in the state capitol Jackson. As promised, it filed suit immediately after Mississippi’s Governor signed the new pro-life law yesterday:
Within six hours, the governor signed a bill banning most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, the state’s lone abortion clinic sued, and a federal judge set a Tuesday morning hearing to consider blocking the restrictions.
Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, though, is asking an immediate halt to the law, telling a federal judge that a woman who is 15 weeks or more pregnant is scheduled to have an abortion Tuesday afternoon. Late Monday, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves set a Tuesday morning hearing on the request by the Jackson Women’s Health Organization that he impose a temporary restraining order.
“We’ll probably be sued in about half an hour,” Bryant said to laughter from supporters as he signed the bill. “That’ll be fine with me. It’ll be worth fighting over.”
Bryant’s prediction was accurate. The state’s only abortion clinic and one of the physicians who practices there sued in federal court within an hour, arguing the law violates other federal court rulings saying a state can’t restrict abortion before a child can survive on its own outside the womb.
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.
“Under decades of United States Supreme Court precedent, the state of Mississippi cannot ban abortion prior to viability, regardless of what exceptions are provided to the ban,” the suit states.
The suit says the clinic performed 78 abortions in 2017 when the fetus was identified as being 15 weeks or older. That’s out of about 2,500 abortions performed statewide, mostly at the clinic.
Now a judge has blocked the measure.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard arguments Tuesday before granting the clinic’s immediate request for a temporary restraining order that would block the law during the legal fight.
“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. “That right protects her choice ‘to have an abortion before viability.’ States cannot ‘prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision’ to do so.”
Reeves said in court that the “ultimate question” is whether a state can ban abortion before viability. He asked: “Does the state have the right to trump the woman’s right to have control over her decisions, over her body?”
Reeves granted a temporary restraining order preventing Mississippi from enforcing the abortion ban.