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Dangerous 15-Week Abortion Ban Severely Restricts Access to Safe, Legal Abortion

Jackson, MS - Today, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a dangerous bill (HB 1510) into law that will ban abortions for women after 15 weeks of pregnancy. This is in addition to many existing restrictions in a state that has only one abortion provider.

“Every person deserves the right to control their own bodies — and that includes the right to decide whether and when to become a parent. This law puts medical decisions in the hands of politicians, rather than women and their doctors, which is incredibly harmful. We must continue to fight for people in Mississippi and everyone’s right to access safe, legal abortion,” said Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood.

“Mississippi already ranks lastnationwide when it comes to the health of our women and children. If Gov. Bryant truly cared about the health and well-being of Mississippi women and families, he would be working to expand access to health care — not taking it away,” said Felicia Brown-Williams,Mississippi state director for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “This law was written by politicians, not doctors. HB 1510 is just the latest in a series of attacks targeting women and access to safe, legal abortion.”  

This 15-week ban is the first of its kind and part of a broader agenda to ban abortion one law at a time. For many women, restrictive policies on abortion serve as a de facto ban. For others, it means they must navigate unnecessary hurdles that cause delays and force abortions later in pregnancy. Due to racism and discriminatory public policy, Black women and people with low incomes are disproportionately affected by this dangerous legislation. 

In Mississippi, there is only one abortion provider in the entire state. Many women are forced to travel long distances or even out of state to access abortion services. On top of that, Mississippi also mandates a second medically unnecessary visit for women to access an abortion. This means women must schedule time off work, potentially secure child care, and pay for travel two different times over the course of several days — if they can access an abortion at all. If a patient is fortunate enough to overcome these hurdles and receive care, their doctor is then forced to provide them with state-mandated, medically inaccurate misinformation that wrongly links abortion with breast cancer.

Research shows that existing restrictions on safe, legal abortion such as these have led to an increase in the number of abortions in the second trimester. Just last week, a new study found that abortions in the U.S. are very safe and have few complications, but that medically unnecessary restrictions such as those enacted in Mississippi, make abortion less safe. After imposing these restrictions that push abortion later in pregnancy, the state will now ban abortions after 15 weeks.

The 15-week abortion ban is not only a direct attack on the women of Mississippi. It is a blatant and targeted attempt to chip away at Roe v. Wade and ban abortion in the state. Time and time again, the courts have confirmed that similar abortion bans are unconstitutional, and Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, has already announced its plans to sue over HB 1510.  

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Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 600 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.

As the organizing, advocacy, and electoral arm of Planned Parenthood Southeast, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates (PPSEA) engages electoral activities including voter education and mobilization. We believe elected officials should support policies and programs that help women and their families make responsible choices about the prevention of unintended pregnancies and plan for healthy families. PPSEA works to educate and mobilize the public and elect lawmakers who support these policies.