This past Friday a federal appeals court found Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks unconstitutional.

The ban was blocked from taking effect in 2018 after Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the only abortion clinic in Mississippi—sued the state. The fight came down to the argument that there is no medical evidence that proves a fetus is viable 15 weeks into a pregnancy. The court ruled that if enforced, the ban would violate the Supreme Court rulings in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey and violate the Constitutional right to seeking abortion without undue burden.  The Fifth Circuit Court of appeals upheld the prior ruling.

“In an unbroken line dating to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court’s abortion cases have established (and affirmed, and re-affirmed) a woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability. States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right but they may not ban abortions. The law at issue is a ban. Thus, we affirm the district court’s invalidation of the law,” wrote the appeals court judges.

The case is seen to be part of a larger strategy by anti-abortion activists to force abortion cases back to the Supreme Court to directly challenge and possibly overturn Roe v. Wade.  A number of states have passed restrictive abortion bans. According to the Guttmacher Institute, by November of 2019 states had enacted 58 abortion restrictions of which 25 would ban almost all forms of abortion.

Sources: Vox 12/14/19; TWP 12/13/19

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