Mississippi abortion supporters and opponents react to Alabama ban

Mississippi abortion supporters and opponents react to Alabama ban
Mississippians react to Alabama's abortion ban. Source: WLBT

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Mississippi is already in the midst of two legal battles surrounding restrictive abortion laws. A 15-week ban was passed by lawmakers last year and a six-week ban this year.

Those who support abortion rights question why Mississippi lawmakers keep tightening the ban, despite the precedent.

“Thousands, maybe millions in taxpayer dollars that are going to be invested in these bills that they know are going to be found unconstitutional," said Pink House Defender Derenda Hancock. "It makes no sense in the poorest state in the nation. How can we do that?”

We asked Mississippi Senator Joey Fillingane if he thought any of the abortion bans signed into law in states would ever take effect or if the intent was always just to prompt the Supreme Court to review Roe v. Wade.

“That’s an excellent question and the honest answer is that none of us really know yet," noted Fillingane. "I know that the Trump administration has put in place a whole bunch of very conservative judges both at the federal district court level which is the trial level. But the most important factor is that, of course, there have been two supreme court justices appointed the Supreme Court by President Trump.”

Fillingane notes that both circuit courts that Alabama and Mississippi fall within are considered to be conservative. He says that because these kinds of challenges take time---the makeup of the court could still shift even further in the conservative direction by that time.

“We have to carry forward the people’s will as part of our legislative responsibilities and that’s what we’ve done to try to protect the unborn here in Mississippi,” added Fillingane.

Regardless of the court’s make-up, Pink House Defender Derenda Hancock says the fight can’t stop.

“When that many states are working on bills like this, we’re doomed," said Hancock. "We’ve got to fight back and we’ve got to fight back now.”

Governor Phil Bryant’s Director of Public Affairs Bobby Morgan sent the following statement.

“Governor Bryant believes that the responsibility of those in public life is to stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves," said Morgan. "He has fought for the sanctity of human life in every elected office he’s ever held, and he’s both proud and excited to see legislatures and governors throughout the country foster a culture of life within their respective states.”

Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates President and CEO Staci Fox said in the coming days “we will be mounting the fight of our lives.”

“Today is a dark day for women in Alabama and across this country," added Fox. "Banning abortion is bad enough. Imprisoning doctors for providing care goes beyond the brink. Alabama politicians will forever live in infamy for this vote and we will make sure that every woman knows who to hold accountable.

Meanwhile in Mississippi, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Mississippi Center for Justice have filed a challenge to the six-week abortion ban, and a hearing scheduled for May 21, 2019.

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