Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, signed SB 2116 on Thursday, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill was approved by the Mississippi Senate on Tuesday.
A physician who performs an abortion after detecting a heartbeat in the fetus, or before checking for a heartbeat, can have their license revoked or suspended. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2019.
Bryant supported the bill saying, “We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, ‘I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.'” The Center for Reproductive Rights has announced that it plans to sue to block the law from being enforced. Elisabeth Smith, Chief Counsel of the Center for Reproductive Rights, has called the law “blatantly unconstitutional” and “a transparent attack on women’s health.”
The new law comes as many new strict abortion laws are facing several challenges across the country. A judge in Iowa struck down a similar heart beat abortion law in January. In February, 21 states called on the Supreme Court to hear a case challenging an Alabama abortion law that prevents the use of the method of dilation and excavation for abortions. In February, the Supreme Court also temporarily blocked a Louisiana abortion law that required physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital in order to perform an abortion.