A federal Mississippi judge temporarily blocked today a law the state passed in March banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected — around six weeks — meaning the ban will not go into effect July 1 as scheduled, the Associated Press reports.
Louisiana is likely to pass its own so-called “fetal heartbeat” bill that will only go into effect if courts uphold the Mississippi law.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves — who struck down Mississippi’s 15-week ban last year on the basis that it banned abortions before viability of a fetus — has signaled he plans to do the same this time around.
“Here we go again,” he wrote in his ruling Friday. “Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability.”
"Ladies and gentlemen, that is a hop and a skip from the Handmaid’s Tale,” State Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, said.
Louisiana also passed a 15-week ban last year, again contingent upon Mississippi’s law to save the state litigation costs. Neither have gone into effect but both states have spent an estimated total of more than a million dollars defending abortion restrictions in court, money that some anti-abortion lawmakers say is well-spent.
“I cannot think of a better expenditure of money that Louisiana could make than to protect the life of the unborn,” said State Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport last year. Milkovich authored both the 6-week and 15-week bans.
“Doesn’t it boil down to: Six is less than 15?” Reeves said earlier this week of the ban, according to an Associated Press report. “It sure smacks of defiance to this court.”
The bans are part of a national strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade — the U.S. Supreme Court ruling stating that a woman has the right to an abortion prior to viability — invigorated by the appointment of conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.
“[The Louisiana legislature] has passed all these bills, and they've never repealed any of them,” State Sen. JP Morrell, D-New Orleans, said. “Logistically, the day after Roe v. Wade gets repealed, they all go into effect.
“When you see these pro-choice advocates frothing at the mouth and being so upset … it’s because they understand what's going to happen,” he added.
“We want full control of our bodies. And goddamn it, we’re not asking.”
Mississippi is in the process of appealing Reeves’ ruling on the 15-week ban, the Clarion Ledger reports, and the Louisiana House is scheduled to vote on the “heartbeat bill” Tuesday.