Abortion ban likely heading to high court

Published 7:54 pm Friday, January 17, 2020

Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban, authored by Rep. Becky Currie of Brookhaven, appears to be headed to the Supreme Court.

A federal appeals court Friday said it will not reconsider its earlier ruling that the ban is unconstitutional.

Since passing the 15-week ban in 2018, the Legislature has created a six-week ban that is also tied up in court.

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Currie, a registered nurse, said in 2018 that about 200 abortions past the 15-week gestation period were performed in Mississippi the previous year.

“This bill could save 200 lives,” she said then.

Mississippi’s ban is one of several passed in conservative states recently. Most, if not all, are tied up in court. At least one depends upon the decision reached in Mississippi’s case.

The six-week abortion ban — which bans most abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — will also face an uphill battle through the courts.

Both of these cases will test the limits of Roe v. Wade, which allows abortions until viability. That’s largely been established at 24 weeks, but with advances in medical technology that could change.

Proponents of the bans are hoping a changing Supreme Court makeup could spell the end of the 1973 decision. Currie has said the state is ready to take the case to the high court. It appears that will happen.

Both bans are an effort to get Roe v. Wade overturned or weakened. A law in Louisiana could beat Mississippi to it. 

The law before the court requires Louisiana doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility where an abortion is performed.  Opponents say the law will make it more difficult for women to find doctors who can perform an abortion. More than 200 members of Congress recently urged the court to reconsider Roe when it hears Louisiana’s case.

The case will be the first abortion-related case the high court has heard since Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch took the bench.

Its outcome could impact how the court rules on Mississippi’s bans.

Many who supported Trump in the 2016 election overlooked his moral failures because they were promised conservative justices who were willing to take on Roe v. Wade.  It looks like we will soon find out if those justices are.