Mississippi considers abortion ban after fetal heartbeat

MGN Online

Mississippi lawmakers are considering what could become one of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

Posted: Feb 6, 2019 9:37 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi lawmakers are considering what could become one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. Bills that passed legislative committees Tuesday would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said he will sign either House Bill 732 or Senate Bill 2116 , which are moving to the full House and Senate for more work. Supporters and opponents anticipate a court fight.

An Iowa judge struck down a similar law there last month.

Several states could consider tighter abortion restrictions to get a challenge up to the more conservative U.S. Supreme Court to try to overturn the 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

Mississippi has some of the tightest abortion laws in the U.S., with a 24-hour waiting period and parental consent for minors required, with some exceptions. The state last year enacted a law banning abortion after 15 weeks, and a federal judge declared it unconstitutional.

In his November decision, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves cited Supreme Court rulings and wrote that states may not ban abortions before viability. He wrote that viability must be determined by trained medical professionals, and the "established medical consensus" is that viability typically begins at 23 to 24 weeks after the pregnant woman's last menstrual period. The state is asking an appeals court to overturn the ruling.

During a Senate Public Health Committee meeting Tuesday, Democratic Sen. John Horhn of Jackson objected to the heartbeat bill and took note of Reeves' ruling about the 15-week ban. The committee chairman, Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall, replied that under "one district federal court judge appointed by President Obama, it was declared to be unconstitutional."

Horhn asked whether it matters which president appointed the federal judge, and Fillingane responded that the nation's highest court has become more conservative.

"I don't think the other states are sitting around waiting to determine what our Supreme Court in its current composition is going to do," Fillingane said.

Fillingane, who is white, also told Horhn, who is black, that more than 80 percent of the abortions done in Mississippi are for African-American women. He also quoted a hymn.

"I believe, 'Red, yellow, black and white, they're all precious in his sight,'" Fillingane said. "And so that's why we're bringing this bill to the floor."

Horhn responded: "If they're all precious in his sight, why are you bringing up that demographic statistic?"

Fillingane said he brought it up so committee members would be aware of what they were voting on. The bill would still allow abortions if a pregnancy endangers a woman's life or one of her major bodily functions.

Democratic Sen. David Blount of Jackson said he has voted for some abortion restrictions in the past but opposed the 15-week ban last year because he believed it to be unconstitutional and will oppose the fetal heartbeat bill for the same reason.

"Again and again we've been told that we should pass legislation, and again and again it's found to be unconstitutional," Blount said.

This is election year in Mississippi. Although Bryant cannot seek a third term as governor, most lawmakers are seeking another four years in office.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348496

Reported Deaths: 7556
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24427446
DeSoto23439283
Harrison21066330
Rankin15704292
Jackson15597252
Madison11114227
Lee10855179
Jones9181169
Forrest8960160
Lauderdale8008244
Lamar719489
Lowndes7167151
Lafayette6604125
Washington5629140
Pearl River5336153
Oktibbeha500998
Bolivar4989134
Warren4803128
Panola4801112
Marshall4725106
Pontotoc451473
Hancock438088
Union437179
Monroe4361137
Neshoba4351181
Lincoln4212116
Pike3711113
Leflore3668125
Tate354688
Alcorn353974
Sunflower350794
Adams345388
Scott344676
Yazoo342476
Copiah329868
Simpson325191
Itawamba316780
Coahoma314985
Tippah312568
Prentiss301863
Covington300184
Marion288681
Leake287875
Wayne280043
George276751
Grenada271388
Newton265964
Tishomingo240370
Winston237884
Stone234138
Jasper233148
Attala228173
Chickasaw220860
Holmes202274
Clay201154
Clarke188180
Tallahatchie185442
Calhoun183032
Smith182635
Yalobusha173141
Walthall149049
Lawrence145226
Greene141835
Amite138643
Noxubee136735
Perry135638
Montgomery133744
Carroll126831
Webster122632
Jefferson Davis118734
Tunica115827
Benton107225
Claiborne105731
Kemper103529
Humphreys101733
Franklin88324
Quitman85619
Choctaw82819
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson71928
Sharkey51818
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 589110

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson856031591
Mobile49268864
Madison37603533
Shelby27362257
Tuscaloosa27208465
Montgomery26252627
Baldwin25567329
Lee17260181
Calhoun15429334
Morgan15199291
Etowah14981370
Marshall13136235
Houston12112293
Elmore10946219
St. Clair10793252
Limestone10750158
Cullman10566205
Lauderdale10266254
DeKalb9517192
Talladega8972188
Walker7817288
Autauga7585114
Jackson7406117
Blount7382139
Colbert6721142
Coffee6382132
Dale5673117
Russell481343
Chilton4785117
Covington4763125
Franklin459081
Tallapoosa4525156
Escambia443883
Chambers3968125
Dallas3749163
Clarke371663
Marion3465107
Pike333079
Lawrence3267100
Winston299373
Bibb290965
Geneva285983
Marengo262767
Barbour252061
Pickens245762
Butler241472
Hale235978
Fayette227265
Henry214845
Monroe203041
Randolph201944
Cherokee199548
Washington185239
Macon170752
Crenshaw169458
Clay166559
Cleburne161545
Lamar151238
Lowndes145855
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa118429
Perry110828
Sumter110433
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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Columbus
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Tuesday will be filled with plenty of sunshine and temperatures will still remain below the normal high temperature for this time of year. Most of the high temperatures on Tuesday will range anywhere from the middle 80s to lower 90s across our area.
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