Mississippi's GOP governor imposes 15-week abortion ban, nation's toughest

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has frequently said he wants Mississippi to be the

Bryan signed House Bill 1510, which bans women from having abortions after 15 weeks gestation unless the unborn baby is expected to not survive outside the womb or if continuing the pregnancy will jeopardize the woman's life.

Abortion rights advocates have said the measure targets the state's only abortion provider, the Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis, in a sworn statement, says she'll have to stop providing abortions to women past the 15 week ban, or else lose her MS medical license, as House Bill 1510 requires.

MS became the first state to ban abortions after 15 weeks in pregnancy after its Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the measure into law Monday.

Republican Governor Phil Bryant said he was proud to sign the bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation with some exceptions, according to a statement from spokesman Knox Graham.

"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 complaint states. Physicians who perform abortions must be board-certified or -eligible obstetrician-gynecologists, and the state requires women seeking abortions to receive in-person counseling and wait for a 24-hour period.

Julie Rikelman, senior director of litigation at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which will handle the challenge, said before the signing that the law followed hundreds of restrictions on abortion passed by state legislatures in recent years.

The suit says the clinic performed 78 abortions in 2017 when the fetus was identified as being 15 weeks or older.

Bryant has now signed a law that makes his state the most hard state in the country to get an abortion.

The law and responding challenge set up a confrontation sought by abortion opponents, who are hoping federal courts will ultimately prohibit abortions before a fetus is viable. Previous Mississippi law banned abortion at 20 weeks after conception, similar to limits in 17 other states.

House Speaker Philip Gunn told the Associated Press he is proud MS is taking steps to protect "the most vulnerable of human life". He told The Associated Press he is proud MS is taking steps to protect "the most vulnerable of human life:" the unborn. In 2012, that same clinic, The Jackson Women's Health Organization, filed a lawsuit challenging a different bill Bryant signed into law. "I am committed to making MS the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal", Bryant tweeted Monday.

MS previously tied with North Carolina for the nation's strictest abortion limits at 20 weeks.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he wants his state to be the "safest place in America for an unborn child". The only exceptions are for fetuses with health problems that make them "incompatible with life" or pregnancies that might threaten a woman's life. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest aren't exempted.



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