A federal judge blocked a Mississippi law on Friday that forbids abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
In issuing a preliminary injunction, Judge Carlton Reeves said the law “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.”
“Allowing the law to take effect would force the clinic to stop providing most abortion care,” wrote Reeves, adding that “by banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the law prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”
The law was set to take effect in July.
Supporters of abortion rights argue the law collides with Supreme Court precedent, violating a woman’s right to seek an abortion prior to viability.
The law is part of a new wave of restrictions introduced by Republican-led states — emboldened by President Donald Trump — to introduce legislation that calls into question Supreme Court precedent. The laws, none of which have gone into effect in 2019, triggered protests across the country on Tuesday, the same day Reeves heard arguments in Mississippi.
Critics worry that with the appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to take the seat of swing vote retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Supreme Court might eventually move to cut back on its landmark opinion Roe V. Wade, if not gut the 1973 decision.
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