MS became the first state to ban abortions after 15 weeks in pregnancy after its Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the measure into law Monday. It is called the Gestational Age Act, and it bans abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, except in the case of a medical emergency or a severe fetal abnormality. The only exceptions are for fetuses with health problems that make them "incompatible with life" or pregnancies that might threaten a woman's life.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has frequently said he wants MS to be the "safest place in America for an unborn child". The state has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation. The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic, Diane Derzis, opposes the law and has pledged to sue.
The Center for Reproductive Rights said it had filed suit in U.S. District Court on behalf of the clinic to block the MS law. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest are not exempted.
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about the bills: "Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota's law) generally prohibits abortions before viability - as the Supreme Court has defined that concept - and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court's grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs". It reinstituted and expanded the "Mexico City" policy, which forbids funding of worldwide aid programs that "perform or promote" abortion.
Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis, in a sworn statement, said 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.
Pro-life supporters stand outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic earlier this month. That means the restrictions kick in about two weeks before those of states whose 20-week bans begin at conception.
"The winners (today) are those babies that are in the womb, first and foremost", Gunn said. 'Those are the ones we're trying to protect'.
The state is bracing for immediate lawsuits. "I think the Supreme Court has recognized that the states have an interest in protecting human life". "We are all about fighting to protect the unborn".
Opponents, though, predicted the attempt to allow states to restrict abortion before viability would fail.
"We certainly think this bill is unconstitutional", said Katherine Klein, equality advocacy coordinator for the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi. "The 15-week marker has no bearing in science".
The bill was drafted with the assistance of conservative groups including the Mississippi Center for Public Policy and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
"Politicians are not above the rule of law, and we are confident this risky bill will be struck down like every similar attempt before it", Nancy Northup, the Center for Reproductive Rights' president and chief executive, said in a statement.
The state House voted 79-30 for the bill and the measure passed with Republicans and some Democrats supporting it.
President Trump has supported a proposed federal ban on abortions after 20 weeks after fertilisation, but the bill was blocked in the Senate in January.