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Federal judge blocks Mississippi abortion law


A federal judge on Friday blocked a Mississippi law that banned abortions once a fetus's heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Judge Carlton Reeves, an Obama appointee, wrote that the law "threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortion services until after 6 weeks."

"This injury outweighs any interest the state might have in banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat," he wrote.

The law was set to go into effect on July 1.

Reeves had reportedly expressed anger and frustration during a court hearing on the law earlier this week. CNN reported Tuesday that the judge was upset over the rule not including exemptions for rape or incest.

Reeves reportedly pointed out that he struck down a 15-week ban on abortions just six months ago, saying the state legislature's even stricter law "smacks of defiance."

Reeves issued his ruling amid a national furor over strict abortion laws.

Several state legislatures in recent months have passed similarly restrictive laws blocking abortions early on in pregnancy. Alabama became the subject of national headlines earlier this month after lawmakers there passed the strictest abortion law in the country, effectively blocking the procedures altogether.

Many of the restrictive laws appear aimed at getting the Supreme Court to take up the issue, with the intent of overturning Roe v. Wade. Legal experts said that it's unlikely the justices would overturn the landmark ruling on abortion rights at this time, but didn't rule out it happening down the line.

Reeves' ruling was issued as part of a lawsuit brought by the Jackson Women's Health Organization against Mississippi officials.


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