Laws restricting access to abortion went into effect in Mississippi and Florida yesterday.
Mississippi law now bans abortion 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period, about 18 weeks gestation - before fetal viability. Last May, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down an Arizona 20-week abortion ban as an unconstitutional violation of Roe v. Wade. The Mississippi law makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and includes only a narrow exception for medical emergencies or fatal fetal abnormalities. Earlier this year Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) announced his intention, during his state of the state speech, to “end abortion in Mississippi.” As it stands, there is only one abortion clinic remaining in the entire state.
Also on Tuesday, a new Florida law went into effect banning abortion at any point in the pregnancy once a fetus is deemed viable unless two doctors certify in writing that it is necessary to protect the health and life of the woman. If two doctors are not available, one must certify in writing that a second was unable to consult on the matter. The law also further limits abortions after 24 weeks – allowed if the pregnant person’s life or health is threatened – by removing mental health conditions as a reason to allow a late abortion.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 6/16/14, 4/24/14, 5/23/13; RH Reality Check 1/31/14