Federal Judge Blocks Controversial 15-Week Abortion Ban in Mississippi

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves blocked a Mississippi law banning abortions past 15 weeks. The law was in effect for just 18 hours, according to Mississippi Today, before Reeves placed a restraining order on it. The order was made permanent after Reeves declared it was unconstitutional on Tuesday. 

“The State chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Reeves wrote in the court opinion. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant made it clear that he was expecting the controversy, Mississippi Today reported. After signing the controversial bill into law in March, Bryant said, “We’ll probably be sued in about half an hour. That’ll be fine with me. It’ll be worth fighting over.” 

Reproductive rights organizations like Planned Parenthood and the Center for Reproductive Rights hailed Reeves’ action as a victory for reproductive rights. Nancy Northup, the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said, “Today’s decision should be a wake-up call for state lawmakers who are continuously trying to chip away at abortion access.”

A Louisiana law banning abortion after 15 weeks based on this piece of Mississippi legislation is now on hold, according to WAFB. The law was signed by the Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards earlier this year, but the language it contains is too similar to Mississippi’s legislation to go into effect after Reeves’ condemnation.