On Tuesday, a Mississippi judge who struck down Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban claimed proponents of anti-abortion legislation want to control “women and minorities,” adding that it was a “sad irony” that men have any part in decisions about abortion.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves of Mississippi's Southern District, who was appointed by President Obama, stated that the viability of the unborn child begins between 23 and 24 weeks, writing “there is no legitimate state interest strong enough, prior to viability, to justify a ban on abortions … 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. 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."
Ripping the state legislature, he referred to their efforts to ban abortion "pure gaslighting," adding, "Its leaders are proud to challenge Roe but choose not to lift a finger to address the tragedies lurking on the other side of the delivery room, such as high infant and maternal mortality rates. No, legislation like H.B. 1510 is closer to the old Mississippi -- the Mississippi bent on controlling women and minorities."
Reeves also bemoaned that men had any involvement in determining the fate of abortion, saying, "The fact that men, myself included, are determining how women may choose to manage their reproductive health is a sad irony not lost on the court. As a man, who cannot get pregnant or seek an abortion, I can only imagine the anxiety and turmoil a woman might experience when she decides whether to terminate her pregnancy through an abortion. Respecting her autonomy demands that this statute be enjoined."
Life News pointed out for Reeves the irony that it was a court of nine men that decided Roe v. Wade:
Public opinion polls show that women are divided on abortion, much as men are, but a majority of women believe abortions should be much more limited than they are now. Some of the strongest pro-life advocates in our country’s legislatures are women, and there are current female judges who have upheld pro-life laws. What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court that handed down Roe v. Wade was entirely male. A federal judge should know that a person’s gender should not matter when deciding moral and legal matters as deeply controversial as abortion.
Last March, after Governor Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1510, Mississippi State Rep. Dan Eubanks asserted, "Beyond the obvious debate of trying to save the lives of innocent babies, there is the often less discussed issues that relate to the health of the mother who receives an abortion. When did looking out for the life, health and overall well-being of a child or its mother start getting labeled as extreme in this country?"
State Bill 1510 made Mississippi the only state in the country in which abortionists had to be board-certified or board-eligible obstetrician-gynecologists. There is one abortion facility in the state, in Jackson.