Politics

Mississippi Bans Abortions at 20 weeks, No Exceptions for Rape, Incest

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Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed a bill today that bans abortions in the state after 20 weeks, even in the cases of rape and incest.

“Today is an important day for protecting the unborn and the health and safety of women in Mississippi,” said Gov. Bryant after signing HB 1400, noted TIME magazine.

State Rep. Andy Gipson (R) wrote HB 1400, which does allow exceptions for when the mother's life is endangered or the fetus has no chance to survive the pregnancy.

Felicia Brown-Williams, of Planned Parenthood Southeast, says the bill actually limits abortions to 18 weeks because it counts 20 weeks from a woman's last menstrual period.

"Women who make the deeply personal and often complex decision to end a pregnancy after 18 weeks should do so in consultation with their physician, not politicians," Brown-Williams told The Clarion-Ledger.

The new law, which goes into effect on July 1, may not make much difference as the state only has one abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which stops performing abortions at 16 weeks.

“[The bill is] a totally irrelevant piece of legislation that I’m sure was aimed at the clinic,” Diane Deriz, owner of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, told the Jacksonville Free Press. “The clinic goes to 16 weeks, so what difference does that bill make?”

Sources: Jacksonville Free Press, The Clarion-Ledger, TIME

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