On Thursday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed Senate Bill 2116 that will ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, according to the Associated Press. The bill will go into effect on July 1st, 2019.
The only exceptions of the bill are when a woman’s life hangs in the balance or when harm to a “major bodily function” is preventable. Any medical professional that violates the new bill stands to have their medical licenses revoked or indefinitely suspended. It’s important to note both the House and Senate rejected all exceptions for pregnancies due to rape or incest.
The Associated Press reported that the Center for Reproductive Rights – based out of New York – called the new bill “cruel and clearly unconstitutional,” and stated they would sue Mississippi before the bill goes into effect on July 1st in their quest to stomp out the bill entirely.
Staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Hillary Schneller said in a statement on Thursday, “Lawmakers didn’t get the message. They are determined to rob Mississippians of the right to abortion, and they are doing it at the expense of women’s health and taxpayer money. This ban — just like the 15-week ban the governor signed a year ago — is cruel and clearly unconstitutional.”
Gov. Bryant told reporters on Thursday he is not concerned about any lawsuits.
“They don’t have to sue us. It’s up to them,” Bryant said. “If they do not believe in the sanctity of life, these that are in organizations like Planned Parenthood, we will have to fight that fight. But it is worth it.”
-Gov. Phil Bryant after signing the bill on Thursday
Thursday, in response to the Center for Reproductive Rights who claimed the “heartbeat bill” a “manipulative misnomer,” Gov. Bryant tweeted, “We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, “I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.”
The ruling Schneller spoke of was filed in 2018 by the only abortion clinic remaining in Mississippi, Jackson Women’s Health Organization , and struck down by a federal judge. The bill would have banned abortions altogether after 15 weeks gestation, stating it to be unconstitutional.
Mississippi is just one of a handful of states that have recently prompted similar bills, and have faced immediate backlash by different factions of Pro-Abortion organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU.
On Wednesday, Kentucky’s similar “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions once the fetal heartbeat is detected was temporarily blocked by U.S. District Judge David J. Hale who also granted the American Civil Liberties Union a temporary restraining order.
Attorneys for the ACLU claim Kentucky’s “heartbeat bill” would prohibit as many as 90% of abortions in the state.
Much like Mississippi, Kentucky has only one remaining abortion clinic available to patients, EMW Women’s Surgical Center in Louisville.
Vice President for policy at the conservative Mississippi Center for Public Policy, Jameson Taylor stated on Thursday,
“The heartbeat bill is popular because everyone knows a heartbeat is a sign of life,” adding, “Intellectual and scientific honesty demands a reconsideration of Roe, a 50-year-old decision based on old science. 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds are showing women that their unborn child is alive.”