'Here we go again.' Federal judge blocks Mississippi's 'heartbeat' abortion law




 

JACKSON, Miss. - A federal judge on Friday issued a strongly worded preliminary injunction blocking Mississippi's "heartbeat" abortion law, that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat is detected.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves' order will combine the lawsuit against Mississippi's fetal heartbeat ban with an ongoing one against the state's previous 15-week abortion ban.

"Here we go again," Reeves wrote. "Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability. The latest interpretation (Mississippi's new law) bans abortions in Mississippi after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is as early as 6 weeks."

The Center for Reproductive Rights had filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi's latest abortion ban, which was set to become law July 1.

More: Where is abortion legal? Everywhere. But ...

Opponents of Mississippi's newest law said that it unconstitutionally bans abortion before "viability." The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a state cannot deny a woman an abortion before the fetus reaches viability, typically around 23 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Attorneys for the state - and political leaders including Gov. Phil Bryant - argue Mississippi has an interest in protecting unborn children.

The Center for Reproductive Rights on Friday tweeted: "Once again the rule of law has prevailed over political ploys to control personal health decisions. We'll fight tooth and nail to make sure all of these bans meet the same fate."

In a statement Friday, Bryant called the ruling "disappointing."

"As Governor, I've pledged to do all I can to protect life," Bryant said. "Time and time again the Legislature and I have done just that. I will encourage the Attorney General to seek immediate review of the preliminary injunction."

Attorney General Jim Hood in a statement said, "The Fifth Circuit has not squarely addressed this issue, and I intend to appeal this order which enjoined the effective date of the fetal heartbeat bill."

Reeves heard arguments in the case in Jackson on Tuesday. Last year, he blocked a similar Mississippi ban on abortions after 15 weeks and said the new law "smacks of defiance to this court." The state is appealing Reeves' ruling on the 15-week ban.

"Doesn't it boil down to six is less than 15?" Reeves asked in the Tuesday hearing.

Reeves had permanently enjoined the 15 week ban, saying it is unconstitutional, and in his Friday ruling said, "The parties have been here before. Last spring, plaintiffs successfully challenged Mississippi's ban on abortion after 15 weeks."

He noted that "The State passed a new abortion ban while its present abortion ban is in active litigation" and said it would not "make sense" to force the plaintiffs to challenge the new law in a separate lawsuit.

In Tuesday's hearing, Reeves had questioned Mississippi's latest law lacking exceptions for cases of pregnancy by rape or incest.

"So a child who is raped at 10 or 11 years old, that child does not open their mouth, doesn't tell their parents, the rapist may be in their home, nobody discovers until it's too late - that is a fetal heartbeat has been detected - that child must bring the fetus to term under this statute, if the fetal heartbeat can be detected," Reeves said.

Mississippi has joined other states in passing increasingly restrictive anti-abortion legislation, with the intent to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade abortion decision.

Alabama recently passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country, not only banning abortions after a heartbeat can be detected but punishing doctors who perform abortions with a possible 99-year prison sentence. Like Mississippi's law, the Alabama law does not allow exceptions for rape or incest.

Kentucky's governor signed a similar bill into law in March, and a federal judge temporarily blocked it just hours later, ruling it was "potentially unconstitutional." Ohio, Georgia and Missouri have also passed heartbeat abortion bans, and a similar measure is moving through the Louisiana Legislature.

The sole abortion clinic in Mississippi, Jackson Women's Health Organization, currently does not perform abortions past 16 weeks of pregnancy.

Follow Geoff Pender on Twitter: @GeoffPender

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: 'Here we go again.' Federal judge blocks Mississippi's 'heartbeat' abortion law

COMMENTS

More Related News

More than 20 Mississippi students hospitalized in bus crash
More than 20 Mississippi students hospitalized in bus crash
  • US
  • 2019-06-17 23:06:08Z

A bus fell onto its side on a busy Mississippi highway Monday, causing more than 20 high school students to be hospitalized. One student was airlifted to a hospital with severe injuries, Mississippi Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Ronnie Shive told The Greenwood Commonwealth . Shive said 20 others who were hospitalized had bruises and abrasions.

Beyond rivers, Midwestern floodwaters hurt seafood catches
Beyond rivers, Midwestern floodwaters hurt seafood catches
  • US
  • 2019-06-17 16:29:50Z

This is a bad year for people who make their living from seafood in Louisiana and Mississippi. "On a scale of 1 to 10, we are 9-and-a-half destroyed," said Brad Robin, whose family controls about 10,000 acres (4,000 hectares) of oyster leases in Louisiana waters. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant asked the federal government on May 31 for a fisheries disaster declaration to make federal grants, loans and other aid available to affected people.

Mississippi
Mississippi's Mental-Illness Policies Are Working. DOJ Is Challenging Them.

Despite having the highest poverty rate in the United States, Mississippi has the nation's lowest rate of homelessness. But instead of heralding Mississippi's success and imploring other states to follow its lead, the Department of Justice is taking formal legal action against the state's highly effective method of delivering mental-health services.Back in 2016, DOJ filed a formal complaint against the state, alleging that its approach to mental health "has resulted in [the] repeated, prolonged, and unnecessary institutionalization [of the mentally ill] in state-run psychiatric hospitals, and placed them at serious risk of such institutionalization, in violation of Title II of the...

Guam Catholic group protests recruitment of abortion doctors
Guam Catholic group protests recruitment of abortion doctors
  • World
  • 2019-06-15 22:50:53Z

A Catholic group has protested the governor of Guam's plan to recruit abortion providers to the U.S. territory where no doctors are currently willing to terminate pregnancies. Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's recruitment idea has drawn criticism and support from residents, the Pacific Daily News reported

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.