Federal judge panel strikes down Mississippi's "heartbeat" abortion ban

by Bryan Brammer · Feb 21st, 2020 2:29 pm

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday struck down a Mississippi "fetal heartbeat" ban that would prohibit abortion after six weeks, according to a spokesperson for the Center for Reproductive Rights.

The court's decision will temporarily block the law from going into effect, upholding a decision made by a lower court in May 2019. The Fifth Circuit also struck down a 15-week ban on abortion passed by Mississippi at the end of last year.

"If a ban on abortion after 15 weeks is unconstitutional, then it follows that a ban on abortion at an earlier stage of pregnancy is also unconstitutional," the court's decision read.

In addition to Mississippi, six other states passed abortion bans in 2019. Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Ohio passed their own versions of the "fetal heartbeat" bill, while Missouri proposed a ban on abortion after eight weeks.

Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.

All state anti-abortion laws have been blocked by federal judges.


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