Mississippi bans abortions after 20 weeks into pregnancy

By Daniel S Levine,

Mississippi has become the latest conservative state to place more restrictions on abortions. Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that bans abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy on Wednesday.

House Bill 1400 will go into effect on July 1, reports The Associated Press. It bans abortions after 20 weeks’ gestational age, or 20 weeks since a woman’s last menstrual period. That falls right in the middle of the average pregnancy term, which lasts around 40 weeks.

“Today is an important day for protecting the unborn and the health and safety of women in Mississippi,” Bryant said in a statement after signing the law, notes Reuters. As Bryant said, supporters say that the bill was designed to protect the mother’s health. However, opponents called it unconstitutional, as the Supreme Court declared abortions legal in 1973.

The exceptions to the law include fetal abnormality or if the pregnancy poses a mortal danger to the woman.

Any doctor who breaks the law could lose their medical license.

Mississippi is following in the footsteps of Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Oklahoma and Texas, which have all passed controversial bills that limit abortions.

Charmaine Yoest of Americans United for Life praised “the leadership in Mississippi who worked together to achieve common sense limits on dangerous abortion procedures.”

However, Center for Reproductive Rights president Nancy Northup criticized the bill for not including an exception to rape and incest. “It's time for these politicians to stop passing laws that attack constitutionally protected women's health care,” she said.

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