Appeals Court Rules Against Mississippi Law Banning Abortions After 15 Weeks

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signing House Bill 1510 into law on Monday, March 19, 2018. The new law bans most abortions after 15 weeks gestation, making it the strictest abortion law in the nation. | (Screenshot: Facebook/Phil Bryant)

A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled against a Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks into a pregnancy with some exceptions.

In the case of Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Thomas E. Dobbs, the panel issued a unanimous ruling last Friday upholding a lower court decision against the law.

Circuit Judge Patrick Higginbotham, author of the panel opinion, wrote that the law, known as the “Gestational Age Act,” went against “a woman’s right to choose an abortion before viability.”

“States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right, but they may not ban abortions,” wrote Higginbotham.

“The law at issue is a ban. Thus, we affirm the district court’s invalidation of the law, as well as its discovery rulings and its award of permanent injunctive relief.”

Hillary Schneller, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is helping to represent Jackson Women’s Health, celebrated the Fifth Circuit panel ruling.

“With this ruling, Mississippi—and other states trying to put abortion out of reach—should finally get the message,” said Schneller in a statement.

“Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars to defend multiple abortion bans that won’t stand up in court, they should be working on other issues—like addressing the state’s alarming maternal mortality rates.”

In response to the decision, Governor Phil Bryant took to social media to vow that he was planning to continue defending the law in court.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski