‘Dignity & autonomy’

Judge makes strong statement in blocking Mississippi abortion law, saying it threatens women’s rights

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

A federal judge in Mississippi has temporarily blocked a state law that would essentially ban abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, saying the law “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights” and “prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”

Judge Carlton W. Reeves of the Federal District Court in Jackson issued a preliminary injunction against the law, which would ban abortions once doctors could detect the pulsing of what would become a fetus’s heart, according to The New York Times. That can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Under the law, abortions would be allowed after the detection of the pulsing only if necessary to save a woman’s life, or “to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman,” the Times reported. Doctors could be jailed for up to six months for performing abortions deemed illegal under the law.

A court blocked a similar law in Kentucky in March, the Times reported, with similar measures in Arkansas, Iowa, and North Dakota faltering in court as well.

The challenge to the Mississippi law was brought by the state’s sole abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, according to the Times. The decision by Judge Reeves, who is an appointee of former President Obama, was expected.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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