Valencia Robinson with Mississippi In Action, a reproductive justice organization, addresses abortion rights advocates, May 21, 2019, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss.
Photo: Rogelio V. Solis (Associated Press)

Down goes Frazier—at least, for now, when it comes to Mississippi’s new so-called heartbeat law, which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

I n a strongly worded ruling Friday, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction barring enforcement of the law that makes abortion illegal after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy—often long before a woman even realizes she is having a baby.

Advertisement

“Here we go again,” U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote in his ruling Friday, according to Jackson, Miss.’s Clarion Ledger, referencing a second, ongoing lawsuit that was brought against the state when it put in place an earlier 15-week abortion ban—a ban Reeves also blocked last year.

In writing his decision, it seemed Reeves was somewhat, er, peeved, at this latest iteration, saying the new law “smacks of defiance to this court.” Remember: He just got through blocking the state’s 15-week ban. Now, they’re coming to him with a six-week one. Really? The judge called out the state on their foolhardy ways.

Advertisement

“Doesn’t it boil down to six is less than 15?” Reeves asked Tuesday when he heard arguments in the latest case, which the judge said he will combine with the ongoing case surrounding the 15-week ban.

As the Clarion Ledger explained:

Reeves had permanently enjoined the 15-week ban, saying it is unconstitutional and in his Friday ruling said, “The parties have been here before. Last spring, plaintiffs successfully challenged Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks.” He noted that “The State passed a new abortion ban while its present abortion ban is in active litigation” and said it would not “make sense” to force the plaintiffs to challenge the new law in a separate lawsuit.

Advertisement

Judge Reeves also expressed a level of disdain for the state’s latest attempt at an abortion ban that doesn’t even allow exceptions for rape or incest.

“So a child who is raped at 10 or 11 years old, that child does not open their mouth, doesn’t tell their parents, the rapist may be in their home, nobody discovers until it’s too late—that is a fetal heartbeat has been detected—that child must bring the fetus to term under this statute, if the fetal heartbeat can be detected,” Reeves said.

Advertisement

I know. Ugh, right? Just heightened levels of disgust.

Oh. And with all the anti-choice sentiment in the state of Mississippi, there remains today just one clinic in the entire state that performs abortions, a situation the judge also cited in issuing his block.

Advertisement

“Allowing the law to take effect would force the clinic to stop providing most abortion care,” wrote Reeves, according to CNN, adding that “by banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the law prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”

Guess the judge told them—or not. Mississippi is sure to appeal. After all, getting the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, to hear its plea and maybe, just maybe, convince the justices on the now-conservative-leaning court to overturn Roe v. Wade is #Goals for these folks.

Advertisement

As CNN reports:

[Mississippi] Assistant Attorney General Paul Barnes told Reeves in court that while the Supreme Court hadn’t upheld a pre-viability ban, that doesn’t mean it “won’t happen” in the future.

Advertisement

Yup. Definitely sounds like someone who still has a dream.

So, the battle over abortion rights in the 21st century really has just begun.

Stay tuned.