Judge to hear request to block abortion law

22 March, 2018, 02:10 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Phil Bryant

Louisiana legislators may soon consider a proposal that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, following in the footsteps of MS lawmakers, who on Monday (March 19) signed a similar bill into law.

Within hours of Bryant signing the law, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jackson Women's Health Organization-Mississippi's sole abortion clinic-challenging the law as unconstitutional and seeking a temporary restraining order to block it.

Lawyer Rob McDuff says the clinic wants a federal judge to impose a temporary restraining order by Tuesday. The law was ruled unconstitutional by a three-judge panel in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014.

Bryant says the law is created to "make MS the safest place in America for an unborn child".

"Under decades of United States Supreme Court precedent, the state of MS can not ban abortion prior to viability, regardless of what exceptions are provided to the ban", the suit states.

The law took effect immediately, leading the state's last abortion facility to sue nearly as rapidly. It also asked the court to block the ban, a particularly urgent request because a woman was scheduled to have a 15-week abortion Tuesday afternoon.

Most progress on minimizing abortion and unwanted pregnancies has been made in the Developed World, with poorer countries still struggling to provide necessary services. "The law threatens immediate, irreparable harm to Mississippians" abilities to control their "destiny and ... body, '" Reeves wrote, citing Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt. The state's only abortion clinic and one of the physicians who practices there sued in federal court within an hour, arguing the law violates other federal court rulings saying a state can't restrict abortion before a child can survive on its own outside the womb.

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There is just one abortion clinic left in the state of MS and it is located in the state capitol Jackson.

Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis of the Jackson Women's Health Organization said in court papers filed Monday that a woman 15 weeks or more pregnant was scheduled for a Tuesday afternoon abortion.

Special assistant attorney general Paul Barnes argued the state has an interest in protecting maternal health and "unborn life".

The bill will create the earliest ban on abortion in any state in the United States and will push back Mississippi's current limit by five weeks.

A federal judge has heard arguments from attorneys seeking and opposing an order that would temporarily block a new MS law banning abortions after 15 weeks' gestation. The clinic only performs the procedure through the 16th week of pregnancy.

The bill's definition of "severe fetal abnormality" is "a life-threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life-saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb". Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest aren't exempted.

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