Dangerous 15-Week Abortion Ban Would Severely Restrict Access to Safe, Legal Abortion
Jackson, MS - Today, the Mississippi House of Representatives passed blatantly unconstitutional legislation that would ban safe, legal abortions for women after 15 weeks of pregnancy with only narrow exceptions, in a state with only one health center that provides abortion. House Bill 1510 is headed to the Governor’s desk.
“Yet again politicians in Mississippi are trying to impose their beliefs on everyone and control women’s bodies, no matter how many people it hurts," said Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These new restrictions would make it nearly impossible for many women to get an abortion in a state that only has one abortion provider to begin with. We are fighting for families in Mississippi and everywhere because everyone has the right to decide whether and when to become a parent.”
“Abortion is a safe medical procedure and it is a critical part of the broad spectrum of reproductive health care that a woman may use in her lifetime,” said Felicia Brown-Williams, Mississippi State Director for Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. “This ban is not only unconstitutional - it endangers women’s health care across our state. If legislators truly cared about women’s health, they would be focused on ways to improve access to health care for women, not restrict it.”
This 15-week bill is the first of its kind and part of a broader agenda to ban abortion one law at a time. In recent years, politicians at the state level have passed more than 400 restrictions on safe, legal abortion since 2011. Seven of these restrictions were in Mississippi alone. For many women, these restrictive policies serve as as de facto ban on abortion. For others, it means they must navigate enormous hurt and often forces abortions later in pregnancy, due to delays as they gather financial resources, take time off of work, find child care and jump other unnecessary hurdles. These restrictions also affect women with low incomes the most. Due to systemic racism and discriminatory public policy, Black women in Mississippi are disproportionately likely to have low incomes and would be hurt the most by this dangerous legislation.
Research shows that existing restrictions on safe, legal abortion have led to an increase in the number of abortions in the second trimester, which this law restricts. In Mississippi, there is only one health center that provides abortion in the entire state. Many women are forced to travel long distances or even out of state. 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, child care, and pay for travel over the course of several days — if they can access an abortion at all.
Time and time again, the courts have confirmed similar abortion bans are unconstitutional and Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, has already announced their plans to sue over HB 1510.
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.