Mississippi Heartbeat Ban (HB 6)
This law was last updated on Oct 9, 2014
HB 6 would have required that an abortion provider determine whether evidence of a fetal heartbeat can be detected using “standard medical practice” prior to performing an abortion, except when a medical emergency exists.
The law states that in the case of a medical emergency, the abortion provider would be required to note in the woman’s medical record the specific nature of the medical emergency that existed and that written documentation must be maintained in the abortion provider’s records for seven years.
If a fetal heartbeat is detected, 24 hours before performing the abortion, the abortion provider would have been required to inform the pregnant woman of the statistical probability of bringing the “unborn human individual” to term based on the gestational age of the ‘unborn human individual” possessing a detectable fetal heartbeat.
In addition, the pregnant woman would have been required to sign a form acknowledging that she has received information from the person intending to perform the abortion that the “unborn human individual” that she is carrying has a fetal heartbeat and that she is aware of the statistical probability of bringing the “unborn human individual” that she is carrying to term.
The law also would have prohibited a person from performing of an abortion on a pregnant woman if a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
The law states that a person would not have violated this provision if the person:
- Performs a medical procedure designed to or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant woman or in reasonable medical judgment to preserve the life of the pregnant woman; or
- Has undertaken an examination for the presence of a heartbeat in the fetus utilizing standard medical practice; and
- The examination does not reveal a heartbeat; or
- Has been informed by a medical professional who has undertaken the examination for fetal heartbeat that the examination did not reveal a fetal heartbeat.
The law is somewhat confusing with respect to when an abortion can be performed if a fetal heartbeat is detected. There’s a conflict between sections 4 and 5 of the bill. The confusion was cleared up in 2014, with SB 2807, which includes only section 5 of this bill.
HB 6 is similar to SB 2807, which failed to pass during the 2014 legislative session. HB 6 does not contain an exception for rape or incest; SB 2807 does contain such an exception.