Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill, Six Months after Enjoining Less-Restrictive Law

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Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill, Six Months after Enjoining Less-Restrictive Law

Six months after issuing an injunction towards a Mississippi state legislation severely limiting abortions after 15 weeks, a federal choose has enjoined a more recent, stricter legislation that seeks to bar most abortions after solely eight weeks.

“Here we go again,” wrote U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves in his order (see full doc under) granting the injunction. “Mississippi has passed another law ban- ning abortions prior to viability.”

Reeves was the identical federal choose who in November dominated towards the Mississippi legislation banning most abortions after 15 weeks gestation.

“The Court ruled that the law was unconstitutional and permanently enjoined its enforcement,” wrote the choose Friday. “The State responded by passing an even more restrictive bill.”

Explained the choose: “This Court previously found the 15-week ban to be an unconstitutional violation of substantive due process because the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that women have the right to choose an abortion prior to viability, and a fetus is not viable at 15 weeks.” 

Reeves famous that the state had conceded that, if a fetus shouldn’t be viable at 15 weeks after implantion, “it is not viable at 6 weeks.”

The choose dominated that the Mississippi legislation “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortion services until after 6 weeks.”

He mentioned that permitting this legislation to take impact would cease the state’s sole remaining abortion supplier to cease providing the process.

“By banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, S.B. 2116 prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy,” defined Reeves. “This injury outweighs any interest the State might have in banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Any delay in the enforcement of S.B. 2116 will serve the public interest by protecting this established right and the rule of law.”

The injunction was cheered by abortion-rights advocates.

“Once again the rule of law has prevailed over political ploys to control personal health decisions,” wrote the Center for Reproductive Rights on Twitter. The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the lone remaining authorized abortion supplier in Mississippi. The clinic was additionally the plaintiff within the lawsuit that overturned the unique 15-week legislation. In truth, at this time’s injunction resulted not from a brand new lawsuit, however as a complement to the matter already dropped at the court docket by JWHO.

Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi 'Heartbeat' Abortion Bill, Six Months after Enjoining Less-Restrictive Law A volunteer escorts sufferers into the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the final abortion clinic in Mississippi, and pro-life activists watch for sufferers to reach on April 5, 2018. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The state had tried to argue that JWHO’s request for an injunction ought to have been disregarded by the court docket because the new 8-week abortion legislation was not a part of that authentic go well with. Lawyers for the state accused JWHO of making an attempt to “shoehorn a separate and distinct constitutional challenge” into their existint criticism.

However, Judge Reeves disagreed. 

“The supplemental claims involve the same parties as the original suit. The supplemental claims pose the same legal question as the original suit: does the law ban abortion prior to viability? And the supplemental claims involve a substantial overlap of facts relevant to the original suit,” wrote the choose, who then defined that the claims associated to the 8-week ban could possibly be ajudicated concurrently with the unique go well with as a result of some facets of that dispute are nonetheless within the discovery part. 

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, who can also be a candidate for governor within the state, reportedly mentioned he intends to enchantment this ruling.

“The Fifth Circuit has not squarely addressed this issue, and I intend to appeal this order which enjoined the effective date of the fetal heartbeat bill,” mentioned Hood in an announcement to the Clarion Ledger.

A rising variety of states have thought-about or handed “heartbeat” anti-abortion measures in latest months. Mississippi’s neighbor, Alabama, earlier this month handed essentially the most restrictive legislation within the nation. It not solely bans almost all abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat — a stage that may happen earlier than many ladies even know they’re pregnant — nevertheless it accommodates no exceptions for pregnancies that consequence from rape or incest. 


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