Liveaction.org is reporting on the bill signing which occurred yesterday after the measure passed the Mississippi house by an overwhelming 75-34 vote earlier this month. The Senate voted to approve the 15-week ban by a 35-14 vote.
“As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child,” the governor said.
Challenges to the bill are fully expected, especially in regard to what’s known as the “viability rule.” This rule was created by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and detailed further in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This rule provides that government “may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability.”
However, as the Lozier Institute explains, there is a great deal of uncertainty today about the viability determination. For example, today’s medical technology has reduced the threshold of viability from 28 weeks – which is what it was at the time of Roe – to 23-24 weeks gestation today.
Diane Derzis, who owns Mississippi’s one remaining abortion facility, told the Clarion Ledger that pro-life groups “are tossing anything and everything out there, anything that could start winding its way through the legal system because we’re in a very fragile place right now. Roe is clearly in danger and that’s what they’re preparing for … They hope by the time they get to the Supreme Court they will have changed the Supreme Court.”
In 2014, federal judges struck down a six-week ban in North Dakota and a 12-week ban in Arkansas. This means that with the passage of this law, Mississippi now holds the earliest abortion ban in the nation.
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