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Photo: Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant
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By Calvin Freiburger, LifeSiteNews, March 19, 2018
JACKSON, Mississippi, March 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Mississippi has become the first state in the U.S. to ban abortion at 15 weeks.
Today, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a law restricting abortions earlier than any other state in America.
Bryant, a Republican, says that HB 1510 will help bring Mississippi closer to his goal of making the state “the safest place in America for an unborn child.”
The law, which passed the State House of Representatives 80-31 on February 2 and the State Senate 35-14 on March 6, forbids abortions from being performed beyond fifteen weeks for any reason other than a “medical emergency,” defined as a physical complication threatening the woman’s life or “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”; or “severe fetal abnormality,” defined as a physical condition that renders the preborn baby “incompatible with life outside the womb.” It does not make exceptions for rape or incest.
The legislation notes that by “twelve (12) weeks’ gestation, an unborn human being” has “taken on ‘the human form in all relevant aspects.’” A variety of medical literature suggests preborn babies are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks, and perhaps as early as 14.
Abortionists who violate the law could have their medical licenses suspended or revoked, and face fines of up to $500 apiece for submitting medical forms that falsify a medical exception to authorize an abortion.
“Right now, we are seeing a dialogue among the states on abortion policy. States, along with the Supreme Court, have rejected the rigid framework of Roe v. Wade and are acknowledging the sensibility of reasonable restrictions on abortion aimed at protecting maternal health and the life of the unborn,” said Dr. Jameson Taylor, acting president of the Mississippi Public Policy Center, which supported the bill as it became law.
The law has taken effect immediately. According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, 17 states ban abortions past 20 weeks of pregnancy, but none banned them earlier until now.
Diane Derzis, who owns Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, told the Clarion Ledger “we will be planning to sue” to block the law. Women’s Health Organization is the state’s only abortion facility. LifeSiteNews reported in 2013 that at least two women have been transported from Derzis’s location in Birmingham, Alabama, leading to a 76-page Alabama Department of Public Health report on medical violations that eventually forced its closure.
Bryant has previously signed legislation to block abortion providers from receiving Medicaid funds for any purpose (though a federal court blocked it), ban abortions at 20 weeks, and require abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals (though a court panel blocked it as well). He also supported the 2010 campaign to pass a state personhood amendment, personally donated $500 to Jackson’s pro-life Center for Pregnancy Choices in 2015, and forcefully denounced his pro-abortion opponents.
“They don’t care if the mother’s life is in jeopardy, that if something goes wrong that a doctor can’t admit them to a local hospital, that he’s not even board certified,” he said in 2012 of those who opposed the admitting privileges law, because “their one mission in life is to abort children, is to kill children in the womb.”