On Women’s Day, Mississippi lawmakers approve earliest US abortion ban

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (L) is expected to sign off on a new law imposing the toughest abortions in the country, despite protestations from rights groups
AFP

Miami (AFP) – Lawmakers from the southern US state of Mississippi on Thursday passed a bill banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, down from the current limit of 20 weeks. 

The bill — the most restrictive abortion limit in the United States — was passed on International Women’s Day, and includes no exemptions for cases of incest or rape.

The only exceptions will be granted if the mother is considered to be a medical emergency case or if the fetus is diagnosed as suffering from severe abnormalities.

The law, which refers to the fetus as an “unborn human being” imposes fines and revocation of medical license for doctors who perform abortions after the designated 15 weeks from the mother’s last period.

The law will go before governor Phil Bryant to be signed into law. He has already expressed his approval for the bill.

“As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child. House Bill 1510 will help us achieve that goal,” Bryant said on Twitter.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) however urged the governor to veto the bill, warning it “will end up at the center of a legal battle, wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees.” 

“The real agenda from some state legislators is to ban abortion outright. Since they can’t, they are using this restrictive bill to put abortion out of reach,” said Jennifer Riley Collins, the ACLU’s executive director in Mississippi.

She said the new law “will seriously harm low-income women, women of color, and young women. This bill will do nothing to make abortion safer or support a woman’s decision-making.”

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