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In Mississippi

Mississippi has the chance to bring about the long-awaited and overdue overturning of Roe v. Wade. Keep reading to find out more about what abortion law would be in your state after Roe.

MORE ABOUT YOUR STATE’S ABORTION LAWS

Below, we’ve summarized what abortion laws would be in your state after Roe.


The Big Question

After Roe, will my state ban nearly all abortions or allow nearly all abortions?

Mississippi may be the state that finally brings about the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The state passed a 15-week ban on abortion called the Gestational Age Act (Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-191) that is currently blocked from taking effect by the Fifth Circuit court of appeals through Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs, 951 F.3d 246 (5th Cir. 2020). The Supreme Court will rule on the case in the summer of 2022. The Supreme Court could use this opportunity to overturn Roe, but even if they do, Mississippi will have to address how to make this law effective after Roe is overturned.

Mississippi passed a trigger law that would take effect immediately after Roe is overturned and ban almost all abortions. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-45.    

Mississippi passed a heartbeat statute that bans abortions after a detectable heartbeat. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-34.1. This law is enjoined in a separate lawsuit from the one dealing with the 15-week ban, even though it shares the same title: Jackson Women’s Health Org. v. Dobbs, 379 F. Supp. 3d 549 (S.D. Miss. 2019).

Abortion Limits, Exceptions and Enforcement

Limitations on abortions

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If my state won’t ban all abortions, what are the limits to abortion?

Mississippi’s 15-week ban is currently enjoined by Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org., 951 F.3d 246 (5th Cir. 2020). The Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on this case December 1, 2021, but a decision is not expected until Summer 2022. The decision could finally spell the end of Roe. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-191.

Because Mississippi has a “trigger law” banning almost all abortions that would go into effect immediately after Roe, Mississippi’s other, lesser limitations and regulations currently in their law on abortion would no longer be necessary.

Mississippi also has a heartbeat statute that bans abortions after a detectable heartbeat. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-34.1.


Exceptions to any limitations

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Are there any exceptions to those limitations placed on abortion?

The 15-week ban includes exceptions for a medical emergency or the presence of a severe fetal abnormality. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-191.

Both the trigger law and the heartbeat statute include exceptions for when the abortion is necessary to save the mother’s life. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-34.1, -45.


Penalties for performing an illegal abortion

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What are the penalties to abortion providers for committing an illegal abortion (one of the forms of abortion that my state has limited under the law)?

Violations of the 15-week ban by a physician are considered unprofessional conduct and their license to practice medicine will be subject to suspension or revocation. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-191(6).

Violations of the heartbeat statute are a misdemeanor punishable by $1,000 in fines and/or 6 months in prison.  Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-39.

Violations of the trigger law are punishable by one to ten years in prison. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-45.

Violations of the parental notice requirements (see below) are considered evidence of unprofessional conduct. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-59 ; Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-413(1).


Enforcement

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When abortion laws are violated, who can file a lawsuit to enforce their rights and the law?

The Mississippi Department of Health can impose civil penalties on physicians who violate the reporting requirements of the 15-week ban. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-191(6)(b).


Special standards of care

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Does my state impose a special medical standard of care on abortion providers?

Yes. Under the Women’s Health Defense Act, physicians have a particular set of guidelines to follow when giving and deciding whether to give abortion-inducing drugs. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-107.


Protecting Fundamental Rights

Parents

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Does my state give parents the right to consent for their child to get an abortion?

Yes, consent is required from both parents or the minor’s legal guardian; however, this state has a method where a minor can obtain permission from the courts to receive an abortion without parental notice or consent. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-53. These provisions would most likely become unnecessary when the trigger law takes effect.


Medical professionals

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Does my state have conscience protections for medical professionals who do not want to participate in abortions?

No.


Babies Born Alive

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Are there legal protections for babies born alive following a botched abortion in my state?

Yes. The physician must act as necessary to sustain the life of a baby who survives an abortion. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-4.


Safety & Health of Women

Physician-only requirement

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Does an abortion have to be provided by a licensed physician in my state?

Yes. Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-3


Informed consent

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Does my state’s law require that a woman give informed consent and/or receive counseling prior to allowing an abortion to be performed?

Yes: A mother must receive counseling about the medical risks associated with the abortion and with carrying the baby to term; however, this provision would most likely become unnecessary when the trigger law takes effect. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-33(1).


Waiting period

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Does my state place any waiting requirement on abortion so that a mother has more time to decide?

Yes, a 24- hour delay is required; however, this provision would most likely become unnecessary when the trigger law takes effect. Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-33(1).


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MAKING A MORE PROLIFE MISSISSIPPI

Your state does not (yet!) have a state family policy council working on the issue of life at your state’s capitol. But the need to fight for life in your state is critical!

If you’re interested in helping start a state family policy council in Mississippi, please contact us at: Mail@familypolicyalliance.com.

And, be sure to check out the good prolife work being done by our national allies as well and find a way to plug into the #AfterRoe movement!

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#AfterRoe - Are You Ready?