Abortion-rights group sues Mississippi over 'heartbeat' law

Gov. Phil Bryant signs heartbeat abortion bill.

An abortion-rights group is asking a federal judge to block a Mississippi law that will ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

Posted: Mar 28, 2019 2:20 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — An abortion-rights group is asking a federal judge to block a Mississippi law that will ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into pregnancy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights on Thursday expanded a lawsuit it filed last year challenging a Mississippi law that banned abortions after 15 weeks' pregnancy. A federal judge declared that law unconstitutional.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the heartbeat bill March 21, and it is set to become law July 1. It's one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the law is "a near total ban on abortion."

"Many women don't even know they're pregnant at six weeks, and this law would force them to carry their pregnancies to term," Northup said. "Just four months ago, a federal judge told Mississippi they cannot ban abortion after 15 weeks, and now they've banned it even earlier. We will keep taking them to court until they get the message."

After Bryant signed the law, he said expected a legal challenge but was not bothered by that.

"They don't have to sue us. It's up to them," Bryant said. "If they do not believe in the sanctity of life, these that are in organizations like Planned Parenthood, we will have to fight that fight. But it is worth it."

Mississippi is one of several states where Republican leaders are considering abortion-restriction bills this year. Abortion opponents are emboldened by new conservatives on the Supreme Court and are seeking to challenge the court's 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

The Mississippi law says a physician who performs an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected could face revocation of his or her state medical license. It also says abortions could be allowed after a fetal heartbeat is found if a pregnancy endangers a woman's life or one of her major bodily functions. The House and Senate both rejected efforts to allow exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

Georgia is among the states considering similar bills. Kentucky's law banning abortion after the detection of a heartbeat was immediately challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union when Republican Gov. Matt Bevin signed it on March 14, and a federal judge temporarily blocked it. A federal judge on Wednesday also blocked another Kentucky law that would ban abortion for women seeking to end their pregnancies because of the gender, race or disability of the fetus.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 63°
Columbus
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 62°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 59°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather