HB 1400 bans abortion at 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period, so it is effectively an 18-week abortion ban. It allows exceptions in the case of severe fetal anomaly or a serious threat to a woman’s health or life, but no exception for victims of rape or incest. The state house passed the bill 91 to 20, and the state senate passed it 41 to 10.
“Mississippi women and families don’t need more over-regulation, more restrictions, and more potential lawsuits around abortion simply because politicians are hoping to score political points at the expense of the women of our state,” Felicia Brown-Williams, Director of Public Policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, said in a statement released after the House passed the bill in February. Mississippi currently has only one abortion clinic in the entire state, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
A similar ban was passed in Arizona but has been permanently blocked in courts for unconstitutionally banning abortion before a fetus is viable. Other 20-week bans are currently enforced in 9 other states, and dozens of anti-choice bills are making their way through state legislatures. Most recently, West Virginia’s governor vetoed a 20-week abortion ban.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 4/2/14; Open States; The Times-Picayune 4/2/14; Planned Parenthood Southeast 2/13/14; Feminist Newswire 3/10/14, 4/2/14