Judge Strikes Down Pro-Life Mississippi Law Banning Abortions After 15 Weeks

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2018   |   6:44PM   |   Jackson, MS

A federal judge has struck down a pro-life law in Mississippi that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The new abortion ban protects more unborn children than any other abortion ban in any other state.

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 pushed 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. Now, a federal judge has overturned it.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves ruled Tuesday that it “unequivocally” violates women’s constitutional rights.

The only abortion clinic in Mississippi sued when Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law March 19, and Reeves issued a temporary restraining order the next day to keep the state from enforcing the law.

The law and the responding lawsuit set up a confrontation sought by abortion opponents, who are hoping federal courts will ultimately prohibit abortions before a fetus is viable. Current federal law does not.

“Mississippi’s law violates Supreme Court precedent, and in doing so it disregards the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of autonomy for women desiring to control their own reproductive health,” Reeves, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion.

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“If overturning Roe is the State’s desired result, the State will have to seek that relief from a higher court,” Reeves wrote.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves heard arguments earlier this year before granting the abortion 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 earleir that year that temporarily stopped the law 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?”