Judge Halts Mississippi's Strictest-in-Nation Abortion Ban Hours After It Becomes Law

March 21, 2018

Just 18 hours after Gov. Phil Bryant signed the nation’s toughest abortion ban into law, a federal judge has issued a temporary restraining order, saying the law is likely to be found unconstitutional.

Within an hour of the signing on Monday afternoon, the Jackson Women’s Health Clinic sued the state over its ban, which prohibits abortions at the 15th week of pregnancy. The clinic, which is Mississippi’s only abortion provider, had argued that banning abortions so early violates a woman’s constitutional right to have an abortion before the fetus is viable.

That evening, the plaintiffs asked for a temporary restraining order, saying that a woman currently in her 15th week of pregnancy had been scheduled for an abortion at 2 p.m. Tuesday. On Tuesday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves agreed with the plaintiffs, issuing a temporary restraining order on the law for 10 days.

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