In February, the Mississippi state Senate and House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is typically between six to seven weeks gestation.
On Thursday, Governor Phil Bryant signed the bill into law, sending out a tweet containing a video of him signing the bill. The text of the tweet reads: “I have signed S.B. 2116, the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, thanks to the work of the Mississippi Legislature, Lt. Gov. @tatereeves, and Speaker @PhilipGunnMS. It is now law.”
In a response to a tweet from the Center for Reproductive Rights, which has threatened to file a lawsuit against the law, Bryant tweeted:
We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, “I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights previously filed a lawsuit against Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. Eight months after the filing, in November 2018, District Judge Carlton W. Reeves ruled that the law was “unconstitutional,” adding that it “violates Supreme Court precedent, and in doing so it disregards the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of autonomy for women desiring to control their own reproductive health.”
Following Governor Bryant’s signing of the bill, the Center tweeted: “BREAKING: @PhilBryantMS just made good on his promise to sign a 6-week abortion ban into law. We’ll see you in court Mississippi.”
The radically pro-abortion organization NARAL also tweeted:
Today, Mississippi’s anti-choice governor signed an extremist ban that effectively outlaws abortion across the state. This is about punishing and controlling women—and if not blocked in the courts, it will have absolutely devastating effects.
It’s likely that when the law is challenged, it will be found “unconstitutional” for the very same reason the previous Mississippi law was found unconstitutional, even if it runs by a different judge. However, there is always a chance that the fight could eventually reach the Supreme Court.
The text of the senate bill reads in part:
Except when a medical emergency exists that prevents compliance with this section, no person shall perform an abortion on a pregnant woman before determining if the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman is carrying has a detectable fetal heartbeat. Any person who performs an abortion on a pregnant woman based on the exception in this section shall note in the pregnant woman’s medical records that a medical emergency necessitating the abortion existed. …
Except as provided in paragraph (b) or (c) of this subsection (5), no person shall knowingly perform an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected according to the requirements of subsection (3) of this section.
The bill contains exceptions for procedures that might be necessary in order to save the life of the mother, or save a pregnant woman from “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”