“Here We Go Again”: A Federal Judge Just Blocked Mississippi’s Six-Week Abortion Ban

This is the second abortion ban he has overturned in the past year.

Supporters outside the last abortion clinic in Mississippi in 2013. Suzi Altman/Zuma

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“Here we go again.” So begins the preliminary injunction by US District Judge Carlton Reeves, who on Friday blocked a six-week abortion ban from going into effect in Mississippi. Six months ago, Reeves also found a 15-week ban passed by the state Legislature unconstitutional, a bill that he called “pure gaslighting.” Mississippi’s only remaining abortion clinic filed the lawsuit against the ban. 

“Allowing the law to take effect would force the clinic to stop providing most abortion care,” Reeves wrote. “S.B. 2116 prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.” The law was set to go into effect in July. 

In recent months, a wave of abortion restrictions have emerged from statehouses across the country, including a near-total ban passed in Alabama last week. Some anti-abortion advocates are hopeful that the extreme measures will cause the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling on Roe v. Wade, the seminal 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. 

“The Supreme Court has never wavered in its holding in Roe,” Hillary Schneller, an attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, told Mother Jones. The organization, which filed the lawsuit against the Mississippi ban on behalf of the state’s last abortion clinic, is currently litigating about two dozen other cases regarding abortion restrictions. As for a possible state challenge to the injunction, Schneller said, “It’s not a hard case for any federal court to decide. It continues to reaffirm that clear principle that the court has affirmed time and time again.”

Reeves concurred in his opinion: “If a fetus is not viable at 15 weeks, it is not viable at 6 weeks.” 

Read the whole order here: 

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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