On Tuesday, Mississippi senators passed, by vote 34-15, a 6-week abortion ban bill, which bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. If a physician performs an abortion before checking if there is a fetal heartbeat, or performs an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, the physician could have their medical license revoked. The bill states abortions may be allowed, if the pregnancy threatens the major bodily functions of the woman’s life, but the House and Senate refused to allow exceptions for pregnancies from rape or incest.
If the ban passes, pro-choice activists around the nation will be suing the state. The Center for Reproductive Rights vowed to pursue legal action if Gov. Phil Bryant signs the bill. In response, Bryant tweeted, “We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, ‘I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.’”
The bill needs to be signed by Bryant to pass, and Bryant has promised to do just that. After Mississippi senators votes were cast, Bryant tweeted, “Thank you to the Mississippi Legislature for protecting the unborn by passing the Heartbeat Bill (SB 2116) and sending it to my desk for signature. I look forward to signing it very soon.”
Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates’ Mississippi director, Felicia Brown-Williams, stated that the “Mississippi Legislature just outlawed abortion for most Mississippians,” because women may not know if they are pregnant before 6 weeks.
Feminist activists are fighting every day to protect Roe v. Wade, stop abortion restrictions at the state and federal levels, and to protect family planning clinics that provide reproductive healthcare to some of the most vulnerable people in the United States. With multiple advocates deeming the bill unconstitutional, the bill faces many lawsuits that threaten to overturn the ruling.
Last week, a federal judge blocked a fetal heartbeat abortion law in Kentucky. In January, a judge in Iowa overturned the states heartbeat law because it violated the constitution of the state. Last year, Mississippi attempted to pass a law banning abortions after 15 weeks, but a U.S. federal judge struck it down because it violates women’s constitutional rights. The new abortion ban will be one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.
Media Resources; Reuters 3/21/19, Jurist 3/20/19, Associated Press 3/19/19, Twitter 3/20/19, Twitter 3/19/19, Feminist Newswire 11/21/18, Feminist Newswire 1/22/18