Federal judge blocks MS abortion law

Residents have varying reactions about House Bill 1510. Source WLBT

"Accordingly, the ban is unconstitutional as applied to all women seeking pre-viability abortions after 15 weeks".

In court papers, the clinic - Jackson's Women's Health Organization - cited a woman scheduled for an abortion Tuesday afternoon. The law went into effect immediately, giving MS the honor of having the most stringent abortion ban in the United States.

Within six hours, the governor signed a bill banning most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, the state's lone abortion clinic sued, and a federal judge set a Tuesday morning hearing to consider blocking the restrictions.

Carr-Ellis, in a sworn statement, says she'll have to stop providing abortions to women past the 15 week ban, or else lose her MS medical license, as House Bill 1510 requires.

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked Mississippi's new abortion law - the most restrictive in the country - saying it's likely to be found unconstitutional. But Mississippi is pushing the envelope by banning abortion starting at 15 weeks.

The state's only abortion clinic and one of the physicians who practices there filed the federal suit Monday in Jackson, an hour after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the measure into law.

The Jackson Women's Health Organization, in a lawsuit handled by the Center of Reproductive Rights, argued the measure is unconstitutional and should immediately be struck down. She says women shouldn't be forced to carry their pregnancies to term against their wills or leave the state to obtain abortions. That's out of about 2,500 abortions performed statewide, mostly at the clinic.

Residents have varying reactions about House Bill 1510. Source WLBT
Residents have varying reactions about House Bill 1510. Source WLBT

An AP report said that abortion opponents have sought the legal confrontation, hoping that federal courts will ultimately prohibit abortions before an unborn child is viable. John Milkovich, would keep much of the state's existing abortion laws intact, including a sentence of up to 10 years of hard labor imprisonment and fines ranging between $10,000 to $100,000 for abortion providers. Currently, Ohio bans abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization, like 16 other states.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, left, looks on during a meeting of the National Governors Association at the White House on February 23, 2015. Gunn told the Associated Press he is proud that MS is taking steps to protect "the most vulnerable of human life"- the unborn.

Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves said in an emailed statement that the law is a major step toward accomplishing Mississippi's goal to protect the lives of the unborn. He says the law is created to "make MS the safest place in America for an unborn child". The woman previously underwent counseling more than 24 hours in advance, as required by a longstanding MS law. It becomes law immediately and bans most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation.

McDuff said the law keeps women "from making their own decisions about whether to bear children".

The bill's definition of "severe fetal abnormality" is "a life-threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life-saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb".

The law does not exempt pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. While the Supreme Court ruled that banning abortion is illegal in its landmark decision, Roe v. Wade, Hood told Cincinnati.com that the bill could prompt the court to reconsider that decision. "There are only a few clinics left to serve patients who need abortion care even as we speak, and with HB 1510 targeting the lone remaining clinic in MS, a scarce health service will become even more so".


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