UPDATE, March 20, 12:57 p.m.: A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the Mississippi GOP’s 15-week abortion ban, one day after the law was signed by Gov. Phil Bryant (R), according to an Associated Press report.
Mississippi lawmakers on Tuesday advanced a first-of-its-kind proposal to prohibit abortion care after the first trimester, as the Republican-controlled state Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee voted to approve the bill.
HB 1510, sponsored by Rep. Becky Currie (R-Brookhaven), would prohibit abortion care after 15 weeks’ gestation. The bill, which could receive a vote in the full GOP-majority state senate as early as next week, includes an exception in the case of a medical emergency or severe fetal abnormality.
The bill defines a medical emergency as an abortion necessary to save the life of the pregnant pregnant person if there is a “life-endangering physical condition” caused by the pregnancy or if carrying the pregnancy to term will “create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
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HB 1510 was passed February 2 by the GOP-controlled house in a 80-30 vote, with 12 Democrats joining the Republican majority and a single Republican joining the Democratic minority.
Gov. Phil Bryant (R) told Mississippi Today that if the 15-week ban is approved by the legislature, he will sign the bill into law. “As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child,” Bryant said. “House Bill 1510 will help us achieve that goal, and I am grateful the House passed it. I look forward to signing it once the senate follows suit.”
This is the first bill introduced in the United States that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, and appears to be the first bill introduced as part of a legislative effort by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which aims to “eradicate Roe” and pass laws banning legal abortion at the state level.
Felicia Brown-Williams, Mississippi state director at Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, told Rewire that the 15-week abortion ban is “unspeakably dangerous” for the women and families in Mississippi and a waste of taxpayer dollars.
“HB 1510 is part of a strategic attack on Roe v. Wade and a blatant attempt to chip away at women’s rights,” Brown-Williams said. “Mississippi legislators know that if it passes, HB 1510 will be the subject of a lengthy and expensive legal battle, with Mississippi taxpayers footing the bill. The thing is, they don’t seem to care.”