A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy.
“Here we go again,” U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in his order. “Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability.”
His new order stops the law from taking effect July 1. Reeves is the same judge who struck down a 2018 Mississippi law to ban abortion at 15 weeks.
Mississippi is one of several states that have pushed this year to enact bans on early abortions. Opponents of abortion are emboldened by new conservative Supreme Court justices and are looking for ways to challenge the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Reeves heard arguments Tuesday from attorneys for the state’s only abortion clinic, who said the law would effectively eliminate all abortions in Mississippi because cardiac activity is often first detectable when many women may not know they are pregnant. Lawyers with the state attorney general’s office said the law should be allowed to take effect because it’s not a complete ban on abortion but is, rather, a limit on when the procedure could be done.