A federal activist judge appointed by President Barack Obama almost certainly will overturn a new Mississippi law that protects unborn babies from abortion after their heartbeat is detectable.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves slammed the pro-life law Tuesday during a hearing challenging its constitutionality, CNN reports.
Reeves criticized the state for passing the heartbeat law after he struck down a less restrictive 15-week abortion ban in 2018.
“You said, ‘We can’t do 15 weeks so by God we will do six weeks,’” Reeves said, saying the new law “smacks of defiance.”
The heartbeat law, which Gov. Phil Bryant signed in March, would ban almost all abortions in the state. An unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable at about six weeks of pregnancy, though research suggests a baby’s heartbeat may begin as early as 18 days after conception. Abortionists who violate the legislation could face criminal charges. The law allows exceptions for medical emergencies.
The Center for Reproductive Rights quickly filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion facility in the state.
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Here’s more from the report:
Reeves asked if the Supreme Court had ever sustained a “previability” ban and he noted that sometimes a woman does not even know she is pregnant as early as six weeks.
At the end of arguments, just before he said he would take the case under advisement, Reeves pressed the state on the fact that the law had no exception for rape or incest.
“So a child who is raped at 10 or 11 — who has not revealed to her parents that the rape has occurred… the child must bring this fetus to term under the statute?” he asked.
Lawyers for the state argued that even though unborn babies are not viable at six weeks, their chances of survival to full term is about 95 percent, according to the report.
They said the heartbeat law would “prohibit procedures that destroy the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being.”
Reeves is expected to strike down the law, but pro-life advocates hope the U.S. Supreme Court eventually will uphold protections for unborn babies.
In 2018, his ruling against the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban drew national attention for its attacks on pro-lifers’ motives. He 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.”
“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. “No, legislation like H.B. 1510 is closer to the old Mississippi — the Mississippi bent on controlling women and minorities.”
Reeves was appointed by pro-abortion President Barack Obama in 2010.