A Mississippi judge has permanently blocked the most draconian abortion law in the U.S., which would have banned the procedure after 15 weeks. The bill only provided exceptions when the mother's health is in danger or in the case of severe fetal abnormality, and not for rape or incest.
"The State chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade," Reeves wrote in his ruling. "This Court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature."
"The Mississippi Legislature's professed interest in 'women's health' is pure gaslighting," he added. "Its leaders are proud to challenge Roe but choose not to lift a finger to address the tragedies lurking on the other side of the delivery room: our alarming infant and maternal mortality rate."
The Mississippi Legislature's professed interest in 'women's health' is pure gaslighting.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves
The decision effectively blocks a similar 15-week ban in Louisiana that would have taken effect had the Mississippi law stayed intact, according to Reuters.
In his ruling, Reeves brought up the tragic fact that far too often, it's men who are making decisions about women's reproductive rights.
"The fact that men, myself included, are determining how women may choose to manage their reproductive health is a sad irony not lost on the Court," he wrote. "As a man, who cannot get pregnant or seek an abortion, I can only imagine the anxiety and turmoil a woman might experience when she decides whether to terminate her pregnancy through an abortion. Respecting her autonomy demands that this statute be enjoined."
Abortion rights are under assault in increasingly extreme ways around the country. Earlier this week, we reported that Ohio Republicans are considering legislation that would not only completely ban abortion in the state, but punish women for it with the death penalty or life in prison. The state previously passed a bill through the House that would ban abortion at six weeks.
Unfortunately, this is no longer a fringe or isolated idea. However, most Americans still support Roe v. Wade, according to polls. "This November, voters elected a record number of governors who will champion reproductive healthcare. People in states like Ohio that do not have this critical backstop face a heightened threat to abortion access," Dr. Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement to Refinery29. "We must fight harder than ever to protect every woman’s right to control her own body, life, and future. We know the majority of Americans want access to safe, legal abortion. It’s time that our elected representatives listen to us: Patients do not want politicians in the exam room making our health decisions."