Mississippi appeal seeks to revive 15-week abortion ban

Mississippi is trying to revive one the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation.

Posted: Dec 18, 2018 9:15 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi is trying to revive one the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation.

The state's Democratic attorney general, Jim Hood, filed a notice of appeal Monday in support of a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

The law was signed in March by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, and the state's only abortion clinic immediately sued the state. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a temporary injunction the next day to prevent the state from enforcing the law. Then he issued a more extensive ruling Nov. 20, finding that the law "unequivocally" violates women's constitutional rights.

Hood will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn Reeves' decision about the constitutionality of the law. Hood has said other federal circuits have reviewed laws banning abortion at 15 to 20 weeks, but the 5th U.S. Circuit hasn't yet reviewed such a case.

Supporters and opponents of the law will file detailed arguments later to the 5th Circuit, which handles cases from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, and is considered one of the most conservative federal appeals courts.

Beth Orlansky, an attorney for the Mississippi Center for Justice, said in a statement Monday that the 15-week ban could hurt low-income women who can't afford to travel to another state for an abortion.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said: "Mississippi is knowingly violating women's constitutional rights in a shameless attempt to eradicate abortion access in the state. The district court resoundingly rejected this ban as a clear violation of Roe v. Wade and the appeals court should do the same."

The only abortion clinic in Mississippi says it provides abortions until 16 weeks.

The Mississippi law and the responding lawsuit set up a confrontation sought by abortion opponents, who are hoping federal courts will ultimately prohibit abortions before a fetus is viable outside the womb, the dividing line that the U.S. Supreme Court set in its 1973 ruling saying that women have the right to terminate pregnancies.

In his Nov. 20 decision, 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 Mississippi law would allow exceptions to the 15-week ban in cases of medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality. Doctors found in violation of the ban would face mandatory suspension or revocation of their medical license.

Because of Reeves' ruling on the Mississippi law, a similar law in Louisiana is on hold. The 15-week abortion ban signed by Louisiana Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards earlier this year contains language saying the law will take effect only if a federal court upholds the law in Mississippi.

An Iowa law, also challenged in court, bans most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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