Mississippi Gov Will Defend Abortion Ban in Court: We Will “Fight for America’s Unborn Children”

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 16, 2019   |   2:51PM   |   Jackson, MS

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant promised Saturday to keep defending unborn babies after another court rejected the state 15-week abortion ban as unconstitutional.

“We will sustain our efforts to fight for America’s unborn children,” the pro-life Republican governor wrote on Twitter. “Mississippi will continue this mission to the United States Supreme Court.”

The AP reports Bryant reacted to a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling last week that deemed the 2018 law “unconstitutional” because it restricts abortions before viability.

The law prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy when the unborn baby is already nearly fully formed. It allows exceptions when there are risks to the life or physical health of the mother, or fatal fetal anomalies.

State records show about 200 abortions a year are done on unborn babies who are between 15 and 20 weeks.

The law was supposed to take effect immediately, but the only abortion facility in Mississippi sued and a judge quickly blocked the law.

State lawmakers have made it clear that they hope this case or the case against the state heartbeat law, which bans abortions after about six weeks, will lead to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

“As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child,” Bryant said in 2018 when he signed the 15-week ban.

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Many states have abortion bans that protect unborn children after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the most they are able to do under Roe v. Wade. The infamous case prohibits states from banning abortions prior to viability. Now, Mississippi and other states are challenging that precedent, hoping the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court will consider allowing states to protect unborn babies.

Here’s more from the report:

A central question in the case is about viability — whether a fetus can survive outside the woman at 15 weeks. The clinic presented evidence that viability is impossible at 15 weeks, and the appeals court said that the state “conceded that it had identified no medical evidence that a fetus would be viable at 15 weeks.” The judges cited a Supreme Court ruling to say Mississippi can’t ban abortion before viability.

“In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s abortion cases have established (and affirmed, and re-affirmed) a woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability,” Judge Patrick Higginbotham wrote for the court. “States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right but they may not ban abortions.”

Earlier this year, Bryant also signed a law banning abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six week of pregnancy. Abortion activists also are challenging that law in court.

Bryant’s term as governor ends in January, but his successor, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, also is pro-life.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is challenging the 15-week ban, slammed the state legal battle as a waste of money, according to the AP.