Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi’s Anti-Abortion, Fetal ‘Heartbeat’ Bill
Christina Cannon

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked Mississippi’s restrictive and oppressive heartbeat abortion law on Friday, writing in his ruling, “Here we go again.”

Reeves struck down Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban last year, and said this new law “smacks of defiance to this court,” the Clarion Ledger reports.

“Doesn’t it boil down to six is less than 15?” Reeves said during proceedings earlier this week.

Reeves also had strong words for the lack of exceptions for rape or incest.

“So a child who is raped at 10 or 11 years old, that child does not open their mouth, doesn’t tell their parents, the rapist may be in their home, nobody discovers until it’s too late — that is a fetal heartbeat has been detected — that child must bring the fetus to term under this statute, if the fetal heartbeat can be detected,” Reeves said.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit against the state on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, voiced their enthusiasm over Reeves’ decision on Twitter.

The law was scheduled to take effect July 1.

Reeves, who is only the second Black person to be appointed to the federal bench in Mississippi, is not new to making what many believe to be revolutionary decisions in a red state.

In 2016, Reeves struck down House Bill 1523, pertaining to “religious freedom,” calling out Gov. Phil Bryant for transparently attempting to write discrimination into Mississippi’s laws, Mississippi Today reported at the time.

“Religious freedom was one of the building blocks of this great nation, and after the nation was torn apart, the guarantee of equal protection under law was used to stitch it back together. But HB 1523 does not honor that tradition of religion freedom, nor does it respect the equal dignity of all of Mississippi’s citizens.”

Currently, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, also known as the Pink House, is Mississippi’s only abortion facility. Reproductive justice organizers have had to consistently battle the state for it to remain open.

Click here to read Reeves’ decision.


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