U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Friday issued a strongly worded preliminary injunction blocking Mississippi’s “heartbeat” abortion law, that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Reeves’ order will combine the lawsuit against Mississippi’s fetal heartbeat ban with an ongoing one against the state’s previous 15-week abortion ban.
“Here we go again,” Reeves wrote. “Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability. The latest interpretation (Mississippi’s new law) bans abortions in Mississippi after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is as early as 6 weeks.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights had filed a lawsuit challenging Mississippi’s latest abortion ban, which was set to become law July 1.
Opponents of Mississippi’s newest law said that it unconstitutionally bans abortion before “viability.” The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a state cannot deny a woman an abortion before the fetus reaches viability, typically around 23 to 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Attorneys for the state — and political leaders including Gov. Phil Bryant — argue Mississippi has an interest in protecting unborn children.
The Center for Reproductive Rights on Friday tweeted: “Once again the rule of law has prevailed over political ploys to control personal health decisions. We’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure all of these bans meet the same fate.”
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SOURCE: USA Today; Mississippi Clarion Ledger, Geoff Pender and Bracey Harris