Ruling Against 'Unconstitutional' Abortion Ban, Judge Chastises Mississippi GOP for Clear Effort to Provoke SCOTUS Challenge of Roe v. Wade
Women in Mississippi will no longer live in limbo, wondering whether the state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation—one of the most restrictive bans in the U.S.—will go into effect, after a federal judge blocked the measure and directly rebuked the state’s Republican lawmakers for passing an unconstitutional law meant to force a legal battle over Roe vs. Wade.
Slamming the “disingenuous calculations” of Republican Gov. Phil Bryant and the legislature, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves blocked the Gestational Age Act (H.B. 1510) in his ruling on Tuesday, arguing that under the Supreme Court’s Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision, states cannot infringe on women’s constitutional right to obtain abortion care in the first trimester of pregnancy.
“The State chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade.” —Judge Carlton W. Reeves
Moreover, the judge said, the Republican attempt to threaten Roe vs. Wade by embroiling women’s right to abortion care in court cases and appeals in the hopes of re-litigating the 45-year-old law at the Supreme Court, would not stand in Mississippi.
“The State chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” Reeves, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010, wrote in his opinion. “This Court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), which filed the lawsuit to challenge the ban on behalf of the only remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, was among the groups that applauded Reeves’ decision and his admonishment of the GOP-led legislature.
“Today’s decision should be a wake-up call for state lawmakers who are continuously trying to chip away at abortion access. Such bans will not stand in a court of law,” said CRR president Nancy Northrup in a statement.
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