Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Mississippi Lawmakers Pass Nation's Strictest Abortion Bill

Mississippi Lawmakers Pass Nation's Strictest Abortion Bill Mississippi Lawmakers Pass Nation's Strictest Abortion Bill
Sherri Watson | 09 March, 2018, 18:11

Governor Phil Bryant has indicated his intent to sign it into law.

House Bill 1510 passed the Mississippi Senate on Tuesday and is one House vote away from the desk of a governor who is eager to sign it.

While the Indianapolis Star reported earlier this week that Governor Eric Holcomb has not openly expressed support or opposition to the bill, he did sign a pro-life bill a year ago.

"As I have repeatedly said, I want MS to be the safest place in America for an unborn child. House Bill 1510 will help us achieve that".

In June 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-3 against a similar law in Texas, concluding that law's demand that abortion providers have hospital admitting privileges and that clinics be regulated as surgical centers violated the U.S. Constitution.

A proposal in the Kentucky legislature would ban a common form of abortion for women who have been pregnant for 11 or more weeks, a change opponents say would force many women to undergo a procedure that is more costly, takes longer and involves a hospital stay.

Mississippi's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, has already threatened to sue.

This has partly come in response to the Pennsylvania abortion provider Kermit Gosnell, who was convicted in 2013 of several counts including first degree murder in the deaths of three babies, involuntary manslaughter in the death of a woman, and 21 felony counts of illegal late-term abortion. Gestational age, she said, is "subjective". Deborah Dawkins, a Democrat, as Mississippi Edition reported. The 15-week ban is nothing more than another attack on the few abortion rights that women have left. Joey Fillingane said on Tuesday as he shepherded the bill through the Senate.

Pro-abortion lawmakers have reportedly attempted to include a provision that would have allowed abortions after 15 weeks in cases of rape or incest, but the amendment failed.

Furthermore, in MS, only one health center now provides abortions.

The Mississippi measure "seems like a pretty simple bill created to test the viability line that the Supreme Court has drawn", said David Forte, a law professor at Ohio's Cleveland State University. Any physician who violates the law may be subject to losing their license to practice in MS, and any physician who files a false report may be fined up to $500.

The Republican lawmaker noted that the senators removed the provision about possible prison time for physicians because "I just don't want to criminalize any behavior".

Supporters of abortion rights say they doubt the court would do so.

No state has been allowed to set the abortion ceiling lower than 20 weeks in the 45 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, said Jennifer Riley Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.