Mississippi Governor Signs Ban on Most Common Method of Second Trimester Abortion

(PRESS RELEASE) Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant (R) signed a measure into law today which bans the most commonly used method of ending a pregnancy in the second trimester.   

This is the second time in under two years that Governor Bryant has signed an abortion ban into law.  In April 2014, he signed a measure banning abortion in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy—with zero exceptions for survivors of rape or incest and only an extremely narrow exception for medical emergencies and lethal fetal abnormalities.

“Once again, Governor Bryant has shown a startling disregard for the health and rights of Mississippi women,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.  “From trying to close the state’s only abortion clinics to outright banning abortion services altogether, Mississippi politicians are fixated on coming between women and their doctors.

“We call upon politicians to take on the real needs of Mississippi women and their families instead of passing laws that jeopardize their health and rob them of their rights.” 

Bans of this nature already face strong opposition.  West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin (D) vetoed a similar measure last month while courts in Kansas and Oklahoma have already blocked similar measures due to challenges brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights.  Additionally, major medical groups oppose these types of bans.  In an amicus brief opposing the Kansas measure, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) stated that the ban “raises serious safety and health concerns for women as well as intrudes unnecessarily into the patient-physician relationship.”

Mississippi has one of the worst records in the nation when it comes to women’s health, with the largest number of women living in poverty and some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and maternal mortality in the country—yet anti-abortion politicians continue to erect barrier after barrier for women seeking reproductive health care services.  Mississippi women face some of the most burdensome restrictions on access to safe and legal abortion in the U.S., with the Jackson Women's Health Organization—the sole abortion clinic in Mississippi—fighting to keep their doors open in the face of political attempts to make safe, high quality, and legal abortion completely inaccessible in the state. 

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