Mississippi's Governor Is Trying Really Hard to End Legal Abortion in the State

Mississippi has become the first state in the country to ban abortions after 15 weeks, one more step in a protracted nationwide battle over reproductive rights.

Gov. Phil Bryant, a longtime opponent of abortion, signed the bill Monday. The new bill does allow for abortions after 15 weeks for medical emergencies and "severe fetal anomaly."

In Mississippi, which has only one abortion clinic in the state, many women seeking abortions already face significant hurdles.

The law would not affect most legal abortion—Planned Parenthood estimates that 92 percent of abortions are performed before 12 weeks. Opponents and supporters of abortion rights both recognize this new law for what it is: part of a longer-term effort to ban abortion entirely.

In his state of the state address in 2014, Bryant said, “On this unfortunate anniversary of Roe v. Wade, my goal is to end abortion in Mississippi.”

On Monday, he tweeted: "I was proud to sign House Bill 1510 this afternoon. I am committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child, and this bill will help us achieve that goal."

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a reproductive rights advocacy group, issued a statement opposing the law.

“There is no doubt that this unconstitutional abortion ban will harm Mississippi women and families," it said. "The ban is clearly an attempt to effectively bring the state one step closer to outlawing abortion entirely. We know that when abortion access is restricted so severely, the number of abortions does not go down—the number of deaths and injuries to women goes up. Governor Bryant should be ashamed of himself.”

The ban is already facing a legal challenge by the sole abortion provider in Mississippi, according to the Associated Press.

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