A judge who blocked Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban Tuesday claimed pro-lifers want to “control women and minorities” in his harshly-worded opinion.
Appointed by pro-abortion President Barack Obama in 2010, Judge Carlton Reeves of the Southern District of Mississippi argued that the law “unequivocally” violates a woman’s right to an abortion.
“… there is no legitimate state interest strong enough, prior to viability, to justify a ban on abortions,” Reeves wrote.
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 U.S. Supreme Court refuses to allow states to ban abortions entirely. But Mississippi pushed the envelope by banning abortions at 15 weeks.
There is just one abortion clinic left in the state, and it is located in the state capital, Jackson. It filed suit immediately after Mississippi’s governor signed the pro-life law.
In his ruling this week, Reeves lobbed sharp criticisms at pro-life advocates, including false claims that they do not really care about women or babies. Instead, the judge claimed to understand pro-lifer’s real motivation: “controlling women and minorities,” CNN reports.
“The state chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decadeslong campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Reeves wrote. “This court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature.”
Furthermore, he called the legislature’s professed interest in women’s health “pure gaslighting,” pointing to evidence of the state’s high infant and maternal mortality rates.
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“Its leaders are proud to challenge Roe but choose not to lift a finger to address the tragedies lurking on the other side of the delivery room, such as high infant and maternal mortality rates,” he wrote in a footnote.
“No, legislation like H.B. 1510 is closer to the old Mississippi — the Mississippi bent on controlling women and minorities.”
Reeves also wrote that it is a “sad irony” that men like himself are the ones making legal decisions about abortion.
“As a man, who cannot get pregnant or seek an abortion, I can only imagine the anxiety and turmoil a woman might experience when she decides whether to terminate her pregnancy through an abortion. Respecting her autonomy demands that this statute be enjoined,” he wrote.
Reeves seemed to imply that if women alone were allowed to make decisions about the legality of abortion, it would be legal for any reason up to birth and easily available. But statistics and the actions of judges and lawmakers do not support this idea.
Public opinion polls show that women are divided on abortion, much as men are, but a majority of women believe abortions should be much more limited than they are now. Some of the strongest pro-life advocates in our country’s legislatures are women, and there are current female judges who have upheld pro-life laws. What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court that handed down Roe v. Wade was entirely male. A federal judge should know that a person’s gender should not matter when deciding moral and legal matters as deeply controversial as abortion.
He also failed to recognize that pro-life advocates are motivated to protect women and unborn babies. Many women regret their abortions, and some are physically scarred for life. Others are pressured or coerced into an abortion or face such difficult struggles that they feel an abortion is their only option. Pro-life advocates want to protect unborn babies’ lives and give women hope that they can succeed without killing their own child.