Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant on Monday signed into law the country's strictest abortion law, prompting Mississippi's only abortion clinic to file a lawsuit [text, PDF] in the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] challenging the Act's constitutionality and requesting it be immediately blocked.
"I am committed to making MS the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal", Governor Bryant wrote on Twitter after signing the bill.
Mississippi's governor has signed the nation's tightest abortion restrictions into law. "The ban is clearly an attempt to effectively bring the state one step closer to outlawing abortion entirely", NARAL Pro-Choice America National Communications Director Kaylie Hanson Long said in a statement.
"The Supreme Court says every woman has a constitutional right to "personal privacy" regarding her body", Reeves wrote in a brief decision that quoted previous legal rulings on abortion.
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One of those lawyers, Rob McDuff, said the woman's next available appointment would be March 28 because physicians travel from out of state to work there.
"There is no doubt that this unconstitutional abortion ban will harm MS women and families", it said.
Special assistant attorney general Paul Barnes argued the state has an interest in protecting maternal health and "unborn life". He said viability was considered to be around 28 weeks when the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide was handed down in 1973, and it was defined as being about 23 or 24 weeks in more recent court cases. "I pray today we have saved the first life of an unborn child in MS", he tweeted. In fact, the only exceptions to law are if the fetus has an issue that is "incompatible with life" or if the mother's life or "major bodily function" would be threatened by carrying the pregnancy to full term.
Ironically, in its quest to make abortion inaccessible, MS seems to have ignored a new report that not only placed the state at top of the list when it comes to infant mortality rate but also gave it the worst overall ranking in terms of clinical care for children and newborns.
While the bill does include some exemptions in cases where women's life is at risk, it does not take rape or incest victims in regard.