Monday, 17 December, 2018

Judge to hear request to block abortion law

Phil Bryant Phil Bryant Verified account @PhilBryantMS
Michele Schwartz | 22 March, 2018, 02:07

Phil Bryant (R) on Monday signed a law-HB 1510-that bans abortion after 15 weeks' gestation. The state's only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, filed a complaint in United States District Court for Mississippi's Southern District and is seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent officials from enforcing the act.

"The law threatens immediate, irreparable harm to Mississippians" abilities to control their "destiny and. body, '" District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in his brief, two-page decision on Tuesday.

Rob McDuff, the lawyer representing the abortion clinic, said the ban was unconstitutional, citing the landmark Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade. Bryant has frequently said he wants MS to be the "safest place in America for an unborn child".

A legal challenge could set up a supreme court showdown over the 45-year-old landmark Roe v Wade case that legalized abortion in the USA in 1973.

A physician at Mississippi's only abortion clinic states in court papers that a woman 15 weeks or more pregnant is scheduled for a Tuesday abortion.

House Speaker Philip Gunn was present when Bryant signed the bill into law. 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.

The temporary block came as the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, a case questioning whether pregnancy centers should inform clients of available abortion procedures. As LifeSiteNews recounted yesterday, World Health Organization owner Diane Derzis has maintained abortion facilities in multiple states, and has a checkered past that includes Alabama shutting down her Birmingham location for a series of medical violations that led to at least two medical emergencies. John Milkovich, would keep much of the state's existing abortion laws intact, including a sentence of up to 10 years of hard labor imprisonment and fines ranging between $10,000 to $100,000 for abortion providers. The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic opposes the law and has pledged to sue.

Reeves said in his order that the MS law "places viability at 15 weeks - about two months earlier than where the medical consensus places it".

Special assistant attorney general Paul Barnes argued the state has an interest in protecting maternal health and "unborn life". It says that it performed 78 abortions past 15 weeks in 2017, or about 3% of Mississippi's 2,500 abortions previous year.

The law's only exceptions are if fetal health problems make it "incompatible with life" outside the womb at full term, or if a pregnant woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened by pregnancy. There are no exceptions for incidents of rape or incest. That's out of about 2,500 abortions performed statewide, mostly at the clinic. Gunn told the Associated Press he is proud that MS is taking steps to protect "the most vulnerable of human life"- the unborn.

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