Mississippi governor signs nation’s strictest abortion law

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant speaks at the National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C., on February 26, 2012. On Monday, Bryant signed the nation's most restrictive abortion measures into law. File Photo by Lance.Cheung/USDA/Flickr

March 20 (UPI) — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed into law the nation’s most restrictive abortion law, which outlaws the medical procedure after the 15th week of pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

The law adds an exception for medical emergencies or severe fetus abnormalities. Physicians who perform abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy will face a $500 fine and be subject to having their medical license revoked.

Women who get an abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy will not face legal repercussions.

“I was proud to sign House Bill 1510 this afternoon,” Bryant said on Twitter. “I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal.”

The law is facing legal challenges from abortion rights advocates who say it is unconstitutional.

The Center of Reproductive Rights filed a suit on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization — the only abortion clinic in Mississippi — which argues the bill should be struck down immediately because it “violates decades of well-established, clear precedent under the U.S. Constitution.”

“HB 1510 violates longstanding Supreme Court precedent, established in Roe v. Wade and reaffirmed in 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, that a state may not ban abortion before viability,” CRR said in a statement. “Mississippi’s bill places substantial civil penalties on doctors who provide that care.”

Anti-abortion advocates praised the governor’s signing of the bill and Jameson Taylor of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy argued that it is legally sound.

“States, along with the Supreme Court, have rejected the rigid framework of Roe v. Wade and are acknowledging the sensibility of reasonable restrictions on abortion aimed at protecting maternal health and the life of the unborn,” Taylor said. “Public opinion agrees, and a majority of voters support commonsense laws that would make abortion safer and rarer.”


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