State Politics

Federal judge forbids enforcement of restrictive Mississippi abortion law

FILE - Dead razor grass and masked fencing sits at the entrance to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic, the state’s only abortion clinic. JWHO successfully filed suit to block a state law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks.
FILE - Dead razor grass and masked fencing sits at the entrance to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic, the state’s only abortion clinic. JWHO successfully filed suit to block a state law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks. AP

A Mississippi law that seeks to block abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy is unconstitutional and can not be enforced, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves has permanently forbidden the state from enforcing the law signed by the governor in March 2018.

The law never went into effect because Reeves granted a temporary injunction when the state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, immediately filed the lawsuit against Mary Currier as state health officer for the state Health Department.

In Tuesday’s opinion, Reeves said, “Mississippi’s law violates Supreme Court precedent, and in doing so it disregards the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of autonomy for women desiring to control their own reproductive health.”

Reeves noted that for more than 40 years, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade has been established law, recognizing that the constitution “protects a woman’s basic right to choose an abortion.”

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization also challenged other aspects of the abortion law that Reeves will rule on separately.

The law would allow abortions after 15 weeks only when a mother’s life is jeopardized or the fetus is so severely malformed that it would not later be able to survive outside the womb. Doctors performing abortions that do not meet those standards could have their licenses revoked.

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