Politics & Policy

Mississippi Senate Passes Earliest Abortion Ban in U.S.

Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson, Miss. (Wikipedia)
The state's only abortion clinic plans to sue.

The Mississippi state senate passed a bill on Tuesday that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, the earliest cut-off date in the country.

The bill makes exceptions for medical emergency and fetal medical abnormality, but not rape or incest. Mississippi’s current cutoff to get an abortion is 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The state senate passed the House version of the bill by a 35-14 vote. After debate, the bill will go back to the House, and then to Republican governor Phil Bryant’s desk. The governor, who said his goal is to “end abortion in Mississippi,” is expected to sign it.

“Mississippians are committed to protecting the lives of unborn children, and this law will be a major step in accomplishing that goal,” Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves said.

Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic plans to sue over the new restrictions. Jackson Women’s Health Organization performs abortions only up to 16-weeks gestation, but still predicted it will have to send some women out of state for abortions if the bill passes.

“It’s poor women forced into having a child they neither want nor can afford — and neither does the state of Mississippi,” clinic owner Diane Derzis said.

“These groups are tossing anything and everything out there, anything that could start winding its way through the legal system because we’re in a very fragile place right now,” Derzis continued. “Roe is clearly in danger and that’s what they’re preparing for. . . . They hope by the time they get to the Supreme Court they will have changed the Supreme Court.”

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