JACKSON, Miss. (March 8, 2018) – Today, the Mississippi House gave final approval to a bill that would prohibit most abortions after 15 weeks, defying a Supreme Court opinion prohibiting states from regulating abortions before 24 weeks.
Rep. Becky Currie (R-Brookhaven) introduced House Bill 1510 (HB1510) in January. The legislation would prohibit doctors from performing abortions after a probable gestational age of 15 weeks except in a medical emergency or in the case of severe fetal abnormality. Gestational age is calculated from the first day of the mother’s last menstrual period.
Under the proposed law, any physician knowingly performing an abortion after 15 weeks would be subject to losing their medical license. Doctors would be required to ascertain the probable gestational age before performing an abortion.
The House passed HB1510 on Feb. 2 by a 79-31 vote. On Tuesday, the Senate approved an amended version of the bill by a 35-14 vote. Today, the House concurred with the Senate amendments and the bill now goes to Gov. Phil Bryant’s desk for his consideration.
Twenty states have banned abortions at 20 weeks or later. HB1510 pushes the limits further. If signed into law, Mississippi would become the first state to impose an abortion ban earlier than 20 weeks.
Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis supports the 20-week threshold.
“The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America. It challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.
in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Supreme reaffirmed the opinion in Roe v. Wade that a woman has an absolute right to an abortion until fetal viability while rejecting a trimester structure the court initially used to determine when states could regulate abortion. Current Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from regulating abortion before 24 weeks.
The proposed Mississippi law would effectively nullify the SCOTUS criteria.
The opinion of Supreme Court judges notwithstanding, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to regulate abortions. This clearly falls within the objects James Madison said would remain with the state governments – “objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people.”
But in Roe v. Wade, the SCOTUS created a constitutional “right to privacy” out of thin air and enforced it on state governments through the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment. Justice Byron White captured the absurdity of the ruling in a blistering dissent.
“I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.”
Gov. Bryant will have five days (excluding Sunday) from the date HB1510 is transmitted to his office to sign or veto the bill. If he doesn’t act, the bill will become law without his signature.
Tenth Amendment Center
The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank that works to preserve and protect the principles of strictly limited government through information, education, and activism. The center serves as a forum for the study and exploration of state and individual sovereignty issues, focusing primarily on the decentralization of federal government power as required by the Constitution. For more information visit the Tenth Amendment Center Blog.