JACKSON, Miss. (CN) – Mississippi lawmakers passed a bill Thursday outlawing abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a measure that would create the nation’s most restrictive abortion law if it is signed by the Republican governor who supports it.
The Republican-controlled Mississippi House of Representatives voted 75-34 in favor of the bill. Governor Phil Bryant has indicated his intent to sign it into law.
House Bill 1510 does not allow exceptions in cases of rape or incest. It does offer exclusions if the woman’s life or a “major bodily function” is threatened, or if the fetus has a health problem and no chance of survival outside the womb.
No state has been allowed to set the abortion ceiling lower than 20 weeks in the 45 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, said Jennifer Riley Collins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi.
“Mississippi already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States,” Collins said in a statement. “If HB 1510 becomes law, it will end up at the center of a legal battle, wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars in legal fees.”
The state’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has threatened to file a lawsuit over the bill.
“I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child,” Governor Bryant tweeted on Tuesday. “House Bill 1510 will help us achieve that goal.”
But Collins insists the bill “will do nothing to make abortion safer or support a woman’s decision-making.”
“HB 1510 will seriously harm low-income women, women of color, and young women,” she said. “We cannot allow those who want to put abortion completely out of reach to pass another law that stands in the way of women and the care they need.”
The ACLU is calling on the governor to veto the bill.
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