On Thursday, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill banning most abortions once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected in the womb.
It’s one of the strictest abortion laws in the country and will make it illegal for women to terminate their pregnancy after about six weeks gestation.
Mississippi’s bill allows for exceptions in the case that the mother’s life or a “major bodily function” is endangered. Doctors who are caught executing abortions after the fetal heartbeat is detectable may face losing their license.
Both the Mississippi Senate and House denied allowances for abortions in pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
The conservative state is only the latest in a number of Republican-led states who have considered “heartbeat bills” this year.
The governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, signed a similar bill last spring, and Kentucky followed suit in February. While Governor John Kasich vetoed Ohio’s “heartbeat bill” during his term, the new Governor, Mike DeWine, supports it. The Ohio Senate passed the measure just last week.
However, while many states are taking steps toward reducing the number of abortions, states like New York, Massachusetts, Washington, and Virginia have passed laws or taken major steps toward allowing much wider access to abortions at late-term.
New York has by far passed the most controversial law, permitting women to have abortions as late as their due date if the “fetus is not viable” or the mother’s health is at risk.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is based in New York, strongly stands behind its state’s liberal law and fiercely opposes Mississippi’s decision, calling it “blatantly unconstitutional.”
The center claims that they are going to sue Mississippi in an effort to overturn the law and stop it from going into effect on July 1, according to a report by ABC News.
“The term ‘heartbeat bill’ is a manipulative misnomer,” The Center for Reproductive Rights stated on Twitter. “These bills actually rob women of their choice to have an abortion before they even know they’re pregnant.”
Governor Bryant says he’s not concerned about lawsuits. Standing firmly behind his Christian faith, he replied:
“We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, ‘I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under the threat of legal action.'”