Judge strikes down 15-week abortion ban

A federal judge has struck down a bill passed by the Mississippi Legislature which would restrict abortions after 15 weeks.

If enforced, the 15-week limit would be the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, but District Judge Carlton Reeves has ruled that the bill is unconstitutional. In the court’s decision, Reeves wrote that the rule infringes on women’s rights.

‘There is a lone legal question presented: does H.B. 1510 infringe on the Fourteenth Amendment due process rights of women? It does, unequivocally.”

The bill, written by Rep. Becky Currie, included language regarding the potential health risks for women if they get an abortion after the 15-week mark. The only exception included in the bill is in the case of a medical emergency that puts the life of the mother at risk. According to Fox News, exemptions would not be granted for pregnancies that resulted from rape or incest.

“Legislation like H.B. 1510 is closer to the old Mississippi—the Mississippi bent on controlling women and minorities,” Reeves went on to write.

At the time it was signed, Governor Bryant praised the legislature for passing the bill and stated that he will continue to work to make Mississippi a safer place for the unborn. Following the ruling, a spokesman from Governor Bryant’s office issued the following statement.

“Gov. Bryant has been committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child since taking office and is disappointed in Tuesday’s ruling against a law that protects both mother and child. He fully supports the defense of this law moving forward.”

Following the court’s ruling, Nancy Northup, President & CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights called for a halt of legislation that aims to create restrictive bans on abortions.

“Our victory today means that women in Mississippi will maintain the ability to make their own decisions about whether and when to terminate a pregnancy,” Northup said. “Today’s decision should be a wake-up call for state lawmakers who are continuously trying to chip away at abortion access. Such bans will not stand in a court of law.”

Reeves also wrote that he felt a sense of “irony” weighing in on this case.

“The fact that men, myself included, are determining how women may choose to manage their reproductive health is a sad irony not lost on the Court,” he said.

Attorney General Jim Hood has stated that he intends to file an appeal based on the lack of precedent in the Fifth Circuit.

“Although other federal circuits which have reviewed 15-20 week abortion bans have found them to be unconstitutional, our Fifth Circuit has not yet reviewed a case like this.  Because there is no controlling decision from our Fifth Circuit, it is our duty to appeal this ruling to the Fifth Circuit.”

Currently, one abortion clinic remains in Mississippi. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization performs abortions up until the 16-week mark.

To read the court’s full decision, click here – Abortion Ban Ruling.