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Miss. politicians react to SCOTUS decision to review state’s 15-week abortion ban

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Mississippi lawmakers are commenting on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case of the state’s 15-week abortion ban, which could potentially change or overturn a nearly 50-year-old decision.

“You may have a Supreme Court that’s ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, or at least at the very least place some major restrictions on abortion in the country,” said Sen. Joey Fillingane of District 41.

In 2018, the Mississippi legislature overwhelmingly passed House Bill 1510, known as the Gestational Age Act, banning abortions in the state after 15 weeks.

That same year, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves for the Southern District blocked the law, ruling it unconstitutional. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals backed that ruling, which caused the state to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Now with a 6 to 3 conservative majority, Fillingane said he believes the court could be ready to change the law.

“At least four of them must have wanted to make a statement on this issue, and they’re using the Mississippi law as the vehicle whereby they will hear the case and make a determination,” Fillingane said.

He’s not the only Mississippi politician commenting on the case.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also chimed in on the matter, saying she is “heartened by the news.”

“It’s just a really sensitive issue, and it’s one that I’m really glad we’re having the discussion because I think that Roe v. Wade needs to be looked at,” Hyde-Smith said.

Hyde-Smith and Gov. Tate Reeves claim there have been medical advancements made since Roe v. Wade that justify taking another look at the decision.

“With the science that we have developed since 1973, it’s just a lot different,” Hyde-Smith said.

The Mississippi Center for Justice and the Center for Reproductive Rights, who first challenged the 15-week abortion ban on behalf of the state’s only abortion clinic, issued statements Monday saying they would fight to uphold the precedent of Roe v. Wade.

“Along with our co-counsel, we will fight in the Supreme Court to uphold precedent and preserve the rights of women in Mississippi and elsewhere to make their own decisions in matters of family and childbirth. An abandonment of precedent by the Supreme Court could unleash anti-abortion laws across the country and severely jeopardize these rights,” said Vangela M. Wade, president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice.

The Supreme Court is set to review the case this upcoming fall.

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