Mississippi’s Republican governor confirms state will enforce near total abortion ban if Roe vs Wade is overturned

State’s new law would ban abortions after 15 weeks

John Bowden
Sunday 05 December 2021 19:37
Mississippi governor supports total abortion ban to defend 'innocent unborn children'
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Mississippi’s Republican governor confirmed on Sunday that his administration would enforce a new law in the state banning abortions just after the beginning of the second trimester of a pregnancy if the law is upheld by the US Supreme Court.

Gov Tate Reeves joined CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday and confirmed that his administration would enforce the ban, which criminalises abortions in the state after 15 weeks into the pregnancy, if the Supreme Court did not find it unconstitutional.

“[I]f Roe v. Wade is overturned, [will you] enforce the almost total abortion ban in Mississippi?” host Jake Tapper asked Mr Reeves.

“Yeah, Jake, that is a yes,” the governor responded.

The ban’s timeframe is significant because it directly challenges the standard set in Roe vs Wade, the most well-known landmark abortion case in US history. In Roe, the Supreme Court ruled that abortion was a protected medical practice (and therefore a constitutional right) that could only be limited during the second trimester of the pregnancy for the purpose of protecting the health of the parent.

The Roe decision further established that concerns about the life of the foetus, which becomes viable around 24 weeks, may legally play into restrictions on abortions only in the third trimester of the pregnancy, which is understood to begin at 29 weeks.

Previous attempts to overturn the decades-old precedent set in Roe vs Wade have been roundly defeated at the Supreme Court, but anti-abortion activists see new hope for their cause with the confirmation of three conservative justices under the presidency of Donald Trump. Mr Trump’s nominations to the Court resulted in a strengthening of the Court’s conservative majority, and the willingness to overturn Roe was seen as a likely factor that the former president sought in his potential nominees.

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court this week as oral arguments were heard in a separate case involving a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks, but prohibiting state enforcement while encouraging private citizens to take up that duty via the court system. The result has been a near-total halt in abortion services in Texas.

Opponents of abortion rights at the protests indicated some doubts in conversations with The Independent regarding whether the Court would truly overturn the precedent, while liberal justices on the Court issued searing remarks questioning whether such a move would irreversibly taint the Court’s reputation for apolitical rulings.

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