Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed the nation's tightest abortion restrictions into law, the Associated Press has reported.
Bryant signed House Bill 1510, which goes into effect immediately, Monday afternoon, and bans abortions after 15 weeks' gestation. The AP reported that Bryant has frequently said he wants Mississippi to be the "safest place in America for an unborn child."
Abortion rights advocates have called the law unconstitutional because it limits abortion before fetuses can live outside the womb. The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic opposes the law and has pledged to sue the state, the AP reported.
The law's only exceptions are if a fetus has health problems making it "incompatible with life" outside of the womb at full term, or if a pregnant woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened by pregnancy. Pregnancies resulting from rape and incest aren't exempted.
Abortion rights advocates are calling the law unconstitutional because it limits abortion before fetuses can live outside the womb. The owner of Mississippi's only abortion clinic opposes the law and has pledged to sue.
Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, last week praised Mississippi senators for their vote on the bill.
"Science and medicine confirm what Psalm 139 says, that unborn babies of any gestational age are fully formed human beings, complete in design and DNA—knitted together in their mother's womb," Dobson says. "In lieu of a change in abortion laws at the national level, legislation such as House Bill 1510 represents a powerful reaffirmation of a state's right to make and pass laws in fitting with the character and values of its own people. I applaud and support all legislation that further limits the number of abortions, whether it prohibits the taking of life at 20 weeks, 15 or two. The pro-life community will not stop until the Supreme Court of the United States overturns the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision and gives abortion law back to the domain of the states—not the federal government. The successful defense of such laws is critically important to us achieving our ultimate goal of ending the scourge of abortion in our land once and for all.
The bill specifically states, "The Supreme Court has long recognized that the State of Mississippi has an 'important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life,' and specifically that 'the state has an interest in protecting the life of the unborn' ... The majority of abortion procedures performed after fifteen (15) weeks' gestation are dilation and evacuation procedures which involve the use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart before removing the pieces of the dead child from the womb. The legislature finds that the intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession."
Mississippi is one of the nation's most pro-life states.
"Mississippians are committed to protecting the lives of unborn children, and this law will be a major step in accomplishing that goal," Bryant said.
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