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Abortion Bans


Mississippi has not repealed its pre-Roe abortion ban, which is unconstitutional and unenforceable. The ban provides that any person who willfully and knowingly causes an abortion by any means, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or when the pregnancy is the result of rape, is guilty of a felony and will be imprisoned for one to 10 years,  Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-3 (Enacted 1952; Last Amended 1997).  A court held that this law's provisions limiting the circumstances in which a woman may obtain an abortion are unconstitutional.  Spears v. State, 278 So. 2d 443 (Miss. 1973).


In 2007, Mississippi enacted a near-total ban on abortion, to become effective if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.  The ban prohibits any person from using or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, substance, or device with intent to obtain or cause an abortion, unless necessary to preserve the woman's life or when the pregnancy is the result of rape and that rape has been formally reported to law enforcement.  A person who provides a prohibited abortion could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.  Miss. Code Ann. § 41-41-45 (Enacted 2007).  


Mississippi outlaws abortion after 20 weeks without an adequate exception to protect women's health or for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. H.1400, 1st Reg. Sess. (Miss. 2014) (Enacted 2014).

The law subjects an abortion provider in violation of this ban to suspension, revocation, or restriction of their medical license, unless necessary to prevent a substantial permanent impairment of the life or physical health of the woman or in the case of a "severe fetal abnormality."  H.1400, 1st Reg. Sess. (Miss. 2014) (Enacted 2014).

Mississippi has an unconstitutional and unenforceable ban that outlaws abortion procedures as early as 12 weeks.  Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-41-71, 41-41-73 (Enacted 1997).

Mississippi's ban is unconstitutional according to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Stenberg v. Carhart.  530 U.S. 914 (2000).  In Stenberg, the court held that a similar ban, which had no exception to protect a woman's health and was written so broadly as to ban more than one procedure, placed an undue burden on a woman's right to choose. Mississippi's unconstitutional law makes any abortion procedure that falls within a broad definition a felony punishable by a fine of up to $25,000, imprisonment for up to two years, or both.  The law has an exception if an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a woman endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury and no other medical procedure will suffice.  Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-41-71, 41-41-73 (Enacted 1997).

There is also a Federal Abortion Ban, which applies nationwide regardless of state law.  The federal ban prohibits certain second-trimester abortion procedures and has no exception for a woman's health.  In April 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ban, making it the first time since Roe v. Wade that the court has upheld a ban on a previability abortion procedure. Click here to read more about the Federal Abortion Ban.

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