The ink is barely dry on Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s signature on the nation’s toughest abortion law, and a federal court has already (at least temporarily) blocked the ban from being enforced. Bryant, while declaring his state to be the “safest place in America for an unborn child,” happily banned the procedure from pregnancies after 15 weeks. The law made no exceptions for rape or incest, and it was obvious that a legal showdown was on the way.
Immediately, the state’s only abortion clinic filed a lawsuit, and a federal court scheduled a Tuesday hearing, where the aforementioned ban happened. In a ruling, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves questions whether states can impose upon a woman’s right to choose before a pregnancy is viable. Via CBS News:
“The Supreme Court says every woman has a constitutional right to ‘personal privacy’ regarding her body. That right protects her choice ‘to have an abortion before viability.’ States cannot ‘prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision’ to do so … Does the state have the right to trump the woman’s right to have control over her decisions, over her body?”
At issue is whether a woman’s “ultimate decision” is impeded by an early restriction like 15 weeks, when a fetus is generally not viable outside the womb until around 24 weeks. While a 15-week ban isn’t nearly as severe as the so-called “heartbeat ban” that many conservatives would dream of, Mississippi may have gone too far with an unconstitutional restriction. This law will likely be the subject of further litigation, as will the subject of abortion as a whole. For now, however, the state’s previous 20-week ban is back in place.
(Via CBS News)