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States follow in Mississippi’s...

States follow in Mississippi’s footsteps with proposals for 15-week abortion ban

By: Sarah Ulmer - March 1, 2022

Many Republican-led states considering similar 15-week abortion ban language as that of Mississippi.

In 2018, Mississippi passed a bill to ban abortions after 15 weeks. After being contested in local courts, arguments were heard before the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2021. A ruling on whether or not the legislation is constitutional is expected in the summer of 2022.

RELATED: Mississippi abortion ban case has its day at the U.S. Supreme Court

If the Court sides with the state, pundits say it could ultimately overturn Roe v. Wade which has been the key ruling regarding abortions in America since 1973. The argument on behalf of Mississippi was made by Attorney General Lynn Fitch and her team.

Attorney General Lynn Fitch

“When the Supreme Court lets loose its hold on abortion policymaking, for the first time in fifty years, the people will be able to have real dialogue about how they want to regulate abortion, promote life, and empower and support women in challenging circumstances.  The debate will look different from state to state, but that is the beauty of a strong democracy,” said Attorney General Fitch.

After the Supreme Court decided to hear the case regarding the law, some states came out in support, saying the federal government should get out of the abortion conversation and leave those decisions to the states.

RELATED: Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban case draws support from new Republican Administration in Virginia

Since then, and most recently, several other states have presented legislation to implement a 15-week ban. Those include Arizona, Florida and West Virginia. In all three states at least one chamber has passed legislation to outlaw abortions after that gestational time period. This was welcomed news to Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves who told Y’all Politics he was proud the Magnolia State’s law was helping defend life in other states.

Governor Tate Reeves on “Meet the Press”

“Stopping the abortion-on-demand crowd’s push to expand abortion requires an all-hands-on-deck approach from pro-life allies across the nation,” Reeves said. “Mississippi’s abortion law will preserve the sanctity of life, and I encourage other states to take a long, hard look at our law as they develop and implement their own. I’m proud of the work we’re doing to save babies, and there is no question our law will do just that.”

Reeves has been a staunch advocate for Mississippi’s law. He has defended the state’s position on local and national media, calling abortion barbaric and saying abortion is “the greatest evil of our day.”

READ MORE: Governor Reeves defends Mississippi’s pro-life law, calls abortion barbaric

Many of the other states who are moving forward with increased bans are doing so because they believe the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade when it rules on Mississippi’s case.

Governor Reeves told “Meet the Press” in November 2021 that he believes the most pro-life outcome would be for Roe to be struck down.

In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis has already implied he plans to sign the 15-week ban that is anticipated to come from the state’s legislature. He made comments in January that the bill was “very reasonable.”

However, even if the legislation is to pass in all three of these states, no immediate action would be taken until the verdict is rendered by the Supreme Court. What this does signal is a path for states to curb abortions without an outright ban.

Senator Wicker and Senator Hyde-Smith

While states make moves to fight later term abortions, the federal government has been moving a bill through that would allow an abortion right up until birth.

The “Women’s Health Protection Act,” HR 3755, would create a federal right to abortion and allow the procedure to be done for any reason up until birth. Mississippi’s U.S. Senators both opposed the bill backed by Democrats.

“The Women’s Health Protection Act is a dangerous and disingenuous attempt to codify Roe v. Wade and create a federal right to abortion,” said Senator Roger Wicker, who voted against the measure. “If this ‘Abortion on Demand until Birth Act’ were to advance, it would be one of the most radical abortion bills ever to pass any legislature in the world. I am glad to stand alongside so many of my colleagues in opposition to this attack on the most vulnerable members of our society. We will continue to fight for life.”

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith said the measure shows how out of touch Democrats in Washington are with the American people, adding that 65 percent of Americans believe states should oversee abortion laws and oppose abortions in the second trimester. That number climbs to 80 percent in the third trimester.

“If the Democrats were being honest, the bill would be titled, ‘The Abortion On Demand Until Birth Act,’ because that’s what it is.  The ‘Women’s Health Protection Act.’  Are you kidding me?  This is not protecting women’s health.  It has nothing to do with protecting women’s health and everything to do with making abortion on demand just the law of the land,” Hyde-Smith said. “There’s no need for this bill or today’s vote, especially when Americans know there are many more critical needs right now going on in this country and around the globe.  It is simply out of touch with the views of the American people,” she said.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, crossed his party’s line and joined Republicans to stop the Senate bill.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: