Mississippi’s ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Ban On Abortions Struck Down By Federal Judges

(TheLibertyRevolution.com) – Mississippi’s ban on abortions after six weeks was struck down by a three-judge panel of federal judges Thursday. Their decision upholds a lower court’s decision that was issued back in May of last year, and will again temporarily block the state law from being enforced.

This three-judge panel is from the Fifth District, the same court that also has blocked a separate 15-week ban on abortions. The judges ruled that if a longer abortion ban were already in place, then a shorter ban must be as well.

In their opinion, the judges wrote:

“All agree that cardiac activity can be detected well before the fetus is viable. That dooms the law. If a ban on abortion after 15 weeks is unconstitutional, then it follows that a ban on abortion at an earlier stage of pregnancy is also unconstitutional.”

The Mississippi abortion ban was effectively called the “fetal heartbeat” ban. It outlawed abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is often about six weeks after conception.

When the law was passed, a considerable amount of backlash ensued. The biggest complaint about it was that many women don’t even know they’re pregnant until after six weeks.

Shannon Brewer, the director of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which is the only licensed abortion provider in Mississippi, explained this further:

“A ban at six weeks of pregnancy means many of our patients would lose their right to have an abortion before they even know they’re pregnant. Many of our patients are past that point. Some have spent weeks saving money for the procedure and have driven hundreds of miles to reach us.”

Mississippi wasn’t alone in passing a controversial ban on abortions. In 2019 alone, there were seven states that passed restrictive abortion bans. In addition to Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Louisiana all passed versions of the “fetal heartbeat” ban, and Missouri passed an eight-week ban on abortions. Alabama signed into law an almost complete ban on abortions, without any exceptions — even for incest or rape.

To this point, federal judges have blocked all of these laws from taking effect, stopping — at least temporarily — these states from carrying out the laws that they have passed. That doesn’t mean that these states won’t eventually be able to enforce the laws that they are passing, though.

Most states such as Mississippi knew when they passed their restrictive abortion laws that it would be a long and arduous fight through the court system before they’d be able to go through with their plans. It’s likely the lawmakers in these states have been prepared from the beginning to take their fight all the way up to the Supreme Court, where they hope the majority of conservative justices will be willing to revisit the Roe v. Wade case from 1973 that prohibited bans on abortions across the country.

That potential fight to the highest court in America is likely to take some time to proceed, and there’s no guarantee the Supreme Court justices agree to take on a case that addressed the Roe v. Wade decision, even though there is a conservative majority.