23 March, 2018
Mississippi's only abortion clinic is asking a federal judge to block a law banning most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, taking that step less than 24 hours after the law took effect. The measure is called the Gestational Age Act. The state's only abortion clinic quickly sued. But Mississippi is pushing the envelope by banning abortion starting at 15 weeks.
Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights won a permanent injunction over a separate MS law that had required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital-a move that allowed the embattled abortion clinic to remain open.
The same day, the nonprofit Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law, which had gone into effect immediately.
The new abortion ban protects more unborn children than any other abortion ban in any other state. This is typically considered between 24 to 26 weeks gestation, the group said.
"This is a human being at 15 weeks and we are going about protecting women and minorities from being torn apart by one of these later term abortions", he added. There are only two exceptions to the ban: if an unborn child has health problems that would make him or her "incompatible with life" outside of the womb at full term, or if a pregnant woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened by continuing the pregnancy.
The U.S. Senate failed to pass a 20-week abortion ban bill in January. Later on Monday, the organisation filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, said Robert B. McDuff, one of the lawyers for the clinic.
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U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order requested by the state's only abortion clinic.
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"A brief delay in enforcing a law of dubious constitutionality does not outweigh that harm, and in fact serves the public's interest in preserving the freedom guaranteed by the United States Constitution", Reeves said in his order.
The clinic argues in the lawsuit that it performed 78 abortions in 2017 that took place 15 weeks or longer into the pregnancy. "Courts have consistently struck down similar bans on abortion before viability as unconstitutional", the center said in a statement. There are no exceptions for incidents of rape or incest.
Some legal experts have said a change in the law is unlikely unless the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court changes in a way that favors abortion opponents.
"States, along with the Supreme Court, have rejected the rigid framework of Roe v. Wade and are acknowledging the sensibility of reasonable restrictions on abortion aimed at protecting maternal health and the life of the unborn", Taylor said.