On Thursday, the Mississippi House of Representatives voted 75-34 in favor of a bill that bans women from having abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The state Senate approved the bill Tuesday with a 35-14 vote, and the office of Gov. Phil Bryant (R) said he plans to sign it into law next week, to take effect immediately. "As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child," Bryant said in a statement. Mississippi already has strict laws regarding abortion, with the procedure banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless "the woman's life is endangered, her physical health is severely compromised, or there is a lethal fetal anomaly," the Guttmacher Institute said.
There is only one health center in the state that provides abortions, and under this new bill, doctors who violate the law could lose their medical license and face civil penalties, while women could face criminal charges. The Center for Reproductive Rights said if this "dangerous" bill becomes law, the organization will challenge it in court. "The Center is prepared to answer any attempt to undermine 40 years of Supreme Court precedent with the full force of the law," Senior Vice President Lourdes Rivera said in a statement.