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Federal judge hears ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ arguments, hearing ends without ruling

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Federal Judge Carlton Reeves heard arguments on the state’s recent attempt to limit the weeks in which a woman could get an abortion.

The latest law is a 6 week fetal heartbeat bill.

Judge Reeves did not make a ruling on the preliminary injunction the Jackson Women‘s Health Organization was requesting, but lawyers from Mississippi’s only abortion clinic remain hopeful.

Courtrooms across the country are taking up a new wave of abortion lawsuits and Mississippi has become center stage in the 6 week fetal heartbeat bill.

 “We’re asking the court to block the law before it takes effect on July 1st because it would essentially extinguish the right to abortion in this state because it bans abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant it’s essential a total ban on abortion,” said Hillary Schneller a staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights.

That’s the position of the Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, however the state argues the law it is based on is not a ban and the law is based on objective medical findings.

However Judge Reeves didn’t seem to buy it saying the state legislature’s action on passing the 6 week abortion ban “smacks of defiance” to the court.

 “While he didn’t rule today i think he was extremely skeptical of the state’s attempt to justify a 6 week ban,” said Schneller

The state argues that it respects the ruling of Reeves on the 15 week ban he struck down in the fall as unconstitutional.  

Adding the state does disagree with the merits of the ruling and says this six week ban is a new law to protect the sanctity of life.

“We know that what we’re here for and we know that these women need us here,” said Shannon Brewer the Jackson Women’s Health Organization Director said.

Because this is ongoing litigation the Attorney General’s office cannot comment.


Court adjourns without a ruling from the bench over the ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ abortion ban in Mississippi which is poised to become law July 1. 

Federal district Judge Carlton Reeves says he’s aware of the deadline and will rule prior to that date.

At this point, no one knows if Reeves will issue a preliminary injunction on the six-week ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ ban.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization petitioned the court to block the bill before it becomes law.

Attorneys argued the law is an attempt to defy Reeve’s previous ruling a fifteen-week abortion ban unconstitutional with precedent at the Supreme Court level.

Attorneys with the state argued that while the state respects Reeves ruling, the new measure restricting abortions after six weeks is not a ban and is meant to protect the sanctity of life.

Reeves did seem a bit upset with the challenge saying ‘the act of the legislature smacks as defiance to this court.”

Parties in the case talked to WJTV 12 as they left the courthouse.

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