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Two more state abortion bans go into effect this week



John Burger - published on 07/06/22

Local court rulings allow Florida to ban abortion after 15 weeks and Mississippi to completely ban it.

Two more states will see abortions banned this week in the wake of the June 24 Dobbs v. Jackson decision.

In Florida, a 15-week limit on abortions was allowed to continue after a court order blocking its enforcement was put on hold.

And in Mississippi, a judge declined to prevent a near-total ban on abortion from being implemented later this week.

“In Florida, soon after Circuit Court Judge John Cooper finalized an expected order blocking enforcement of a 15-week ban that took effect on [July 1], the Republican-led state promptly appealed, triggering an automatic freeze of his injunction,” Reuters reported. “Hours later, Judge Debbra Halford in Jackson, Mississippi denied a request by the state’s only abortion clinic to prevent officials from carrying out a near-total ban on abortion that is set to take effect on Thursday.”

The Mississippi case involved the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic and the plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case that overturned Roe v. Wade. The clinic cited a 1998 ruling by the Mississippi Supreme Court holding that the right to privacy under the state’s constitution included a right to abortion. But Judge Halford wrote that since Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are no longer the law of the land, reliance upon the 1998 ruling, Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Kirk Fordice, “will almost certainly not be well-founded when pursuing this case. … It is more than doubtful that the Mississippi Supreme Court will continue to uphold Fordice.”

The new Mississippi law bans most abortions, except in the case where the pregnancy could potentially take the life of the mother or in the case of rape, where rape charges have been filed.

“This law has the potential to save the lives of thousands of unborn Mississippi children,” said Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves. “It is a great victory for life. I also believe it is critical that we showcase to every mother and child that they are loved and that their communities will support them. We have much more work to do. Every life has inherent dignity, and Mississippi will continue to do everything it can to advance the fight for life.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 5 in April, banning abortions after 15 weeks gestation, with an exception for a fatal fetal abnormality if two physicians confirm the diagnosis in writing. It does not allow exemptions for rape, incest or human trafficking. The law took effect July 1, but a state judge, John Cooper, issued an injunction on Tuesday, ruling that the law likely violated Florida’s Constitution’s right to privacy. A state appeal of the injunction automatically allowed the law to go back into effect. 

Reuters reported that appeals in both cases are expected, with lawyers for the abortion providers in Florida at the ACLU and Center for Reproductive Rights “already vowing to seek reinstatement of the injunction and to get the 15-week ban ‘blocked for good.’”

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