Judge to hear request to block abortion law

MGN Online
MGN Online
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23 March, 2018

He said he expected a swift legal challenge, and indeed, the abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organisation, filed a complaint in the US District Court for Mississippi's Southern District less than an hour after he signed the bill into law.

MS is among a small handful of states with only one remaining clinic that provides abortion services: in this case, Jackson Women's Health Organization. Today, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves put a temporary restraining order on the law Tuesday. Echoing a phrase Bryant often uses, Reeves added that he is committed to making the state "the safest place in America for an unborn child".

The lawsuit challenges House Bill 1510, saying federal courts have ruled women have the right to an abortion before a fetus can live on its own outside the womb.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Monday, and it became law immediately.

But abortion opponents praised the governor's signing of the bill Monday and Jameson Taylor of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy argued that it is legally sound.

Reeves said in court that the "ultimate question" is whether a state can ban abortion before viability. The measure is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States.

"Under decades of United States Supreme Court precedent, the state of MS can not ban abortion prior to viability, regardless of what exceptions are provided to the ban", the suit states.

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Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510 on Monday afternoon.

In a lawsuit handled by the Center of Reproductive Rights, the Jackson Women's Health Organization says the measure is unconstitutional and should immediately be struck down.

In commending the state's lawmakers, Bishops Kopacz and Kihneman also criticized lawmakers in Congress who let the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act fail in the House of Representatives. "It is in states like MS where the greatest progress toward righting it is being made", she added. The suit argued the bill strips women of options in a state where there are already very few, including one woman, who is at 15 weeks gestation and was scheduled to have an abortion Tuesday afternoon. The woman previously underwent counseling more than 24 hours in advance, as required by a longstanding MS law.

"Politicians are not above the rule of law, and we are confident this unsafe bill will be struck down like every similar attempt before it", Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement obtained by the AP. Bryant has frequently said he wants MS to be the "safest place in America for an unborn child".

The law's only exceptions are if fetal health problems make it "incompatible with life" outside the womb at full term, or if a pregnant woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened by pregnancy.

Pro-Choice activists gather outside of the Supreme Court on March 20 during oral arguments in the abortion case NIFLA v Bercerra. There are no exceptions for incidents of rape or incest.


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