• 57°

Protecting life is always right

Mississippi lawmakers on Thursday passed what appears to be the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban. The bill makes the procedure illegal after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Mississippi currently bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is near the time when courts have agreed a child is viable outside the womb.

There are two exceptions to House Bill 1510 — which now heads to the governor — if the fetus has a health problem that would prevent it from surviving outside the womb at full term, or if the pregnant woman’s life or a “major bodily function” is threatened by the pregnancy, The Associated Press reported. Pregnancies as a result of rape and incest are not exempt.

Other states have tried to enact earlier abortion bans without much luck. An appeals court in 2015 struck down efforts in North Dakota to ban most abortions after six weeks, when a fetus develops a detectable heartbeat, and in Arkansas after 12 weeks, AP reported.

The outcome in Mississippi may be similar, and legislators who voted in favor of the ban are expecting lawsuits.

“The Supreme Court has said and resaid again and again that states cannot prohibit women from obtaining abortions prior to viability, which is what a 15-week ban would do,” said Hillary Schneller, staff attorney for the national nonprofit Center for Reproductive Rights. The New York-based group, which advocates for free access to abortion, called the bill unconstitutional and “medically unsound.”

The bill was co-authored by Rep. Becky Currie of Brookhaven. We stand with Currie on this issue. The bill may not be perfect, but protecting life is always the right decision.