Mississippi Abortion Clinic Sues to Overturn Nation’s Most Pro-Life Law Banning Abortions After 15 Weeks

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Apr 9, 2018   |   3:39PM   |   Jackson, MS

The last abortion facility in Mississippi filed another lawsuit Monday to overturn a state law that prohibits abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the Center for Reproductive Rights allege a whole group of state laws are unconstitutional because they restrict women’s access to abortion, The Hill reports.

Their lawsuit challenges the 15-week abortion ban, a 24-hour waiting period, a requirement that appointments between a doctor and patient be in person, a requirement that only doctors perform abortions and several abortion clinic regulations.

“[The 15-week ban] is the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” CRR president Nancy Northup said in a press conference, according to BuzzFeed. “The piling on and piling on got to be too much.”

Signed into law in March, state House Bill 1510 creates the earliest ban on abortion in any state by pushing back Mississippi’s current limit by five weeks. The law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks except when there are risks to the life or physical health of the mother, or fatal fetal anomalies. Previously, Mississippi law banned abortion at 20 weeks after conception, similar to limits in 17 other states.

“As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in March. “House Bill 1510 will help us achieve that goal.”

However, a judge blocked the law from taking effect a day later when the Jackson abortion clinic filed its first lawsuit.

“Mississippi has attempted to circumvent the Supreme Court’s rulings by passing a series of targeted laws and regulations designed to choke off access to abortion in the state, primarily by decreasing the number of providers of abortion care, while at the same time delaying and misinforming women who manage to reach these providers,” the second lawsuit reads.

Owners of Jackson abortion clinic said they do abortions up to 18 weeks. According to its first lawsuit, it aborted 78 unborn babies who were 15 weeks or older in 2017.

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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.

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, especially prior to viability.