A federal appeals court has upheld a block on Mississippi’s “heartbeat” abortion law that prohibits the procedure once an unborn baby’s heartbeat can be detected, at about the sixth week of pregnancy.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit temporarily blocked the law, stating it is unconstitutional because it would ban abortion before a baby could live outside the uterus, reported UPI.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that abortion is legal in the United States prior to viability outside the womb.
The abortion industry celebrated the ruling:
BREAKING: We just won our case challenging Mississippi’s 6-week abortion ban at the Fifth Circuit.
We already blocked the state’s 15-week ban, and this 6-week ban is an even more extreme attempt to take away the rights of Mississippi residents. Not on our watch.
— Center for Reproductive Rights (@ReproRights) February 20, 2020
In December, the Fifth Circuit also blocked another Mississippi law banning abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
Mississippi became the first state to ban abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy in March 2018.
“We’ll probably be sued here in about a half-hour,” former Gov. Phil Bryant (R) joked as he signed the bill into law. “That’ll be fine with me. It’s worth fighting over.”
Current Gov. Tate Reeves (R) supported the 15-week ban at the time when he was lieutenant governor.
“Mississippians are committed to protecting the lives of unborn children, and this law will be a major step in accomplishing that goal,” he said. “I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child.”
Nevertheless, according to UPI, the appeals court said in its ruling about the “heartbeat” law, “[A]ll agree that cardiac activity can be detected well before the fetus is viable.”
“That dooms the law,” the court continued. “If a ban on abortion after 15 weeks is unconstitutional, then it follows that a ban on abortion at an earlier stage of pregnancy is also unconstitutional.”
As Fox News reported, 18 states have already either introduced or passed bills that ban abortion once a heartbeat can be detected. None of the bills that have been passed have gone into effect since they have either been vetoed or struck down in court.