Mississippi senators pass ban on abortion after fetal heartbeat
© WikiMedia (James McNellis)
Mississippi senators pass ban on abortion after fetal heartbeat

Mississippi senators on Tuesday passed, by a vote of 34-15, the final version of a bill that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The Mississippi bill says a physician performing an abortion on a pregnant woman before determining if the unborn human individual has a detectable fetal heartbeat, or one who performs an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, could face revocation of his or her medical license.

The bill also says that abortions could be allowed after a fetal heartbeat is found only under medical emergency—if a pregnancy endangers a woman’s life or the substantial and irreversible impairment of her major bodily function. The House and Senate both rejected efforts to allow exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest.

“Thank you to the Mississippi Legislature for protecting the unborn by passing the Heartbeat Bill (SB 2116) and sending it to my desk for signature. I look forward to signing it very soon,” Republican Governor Phil Bryant wrote on Twitter.

This bill would ban most abortions, since a heartbeat can be detected as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, and women may not know they are pregnant before six weeks. “So, in effect, the Mississippi Legislature just outlawed abortion for most Mississippians,” said Felicia Brown-Williams, Mississippi director for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates.