Governor plans to sign fetal heartbeat bill despite threat of legal action

Governor plans to sign fetal heartbeat bill despite threat of legal action

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Governor Phil Bryant plans to sign the fetal heartbeat bill into law Thursday morning, but advocates are already weighing in about potential impacts and backlash.

Thursday will be somewhat of a repeat of history. Last year, Governor Phil Bryant signed the most restrictive abortion ban in the country into law. That was a 15-week ban.

“And we’re probably going to be sued here in about half-an-hour," said Bryant while signing the bill into law. "That’ll be fine with me.”

The state was sued and a federal judge ruled the law unconstitutional. The state’s still appealing the decision. So, why now? Why another anticipated court fight?

“It’s 100 percent an election ploy and that is really upsetting as a Mississippian, as a lifelong Mississippian, to see legislators using people of this state as election fodder is unacceptable,” said Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates Felicia Brown-Williams.

Another point of debate has been the costs of the current legal challenge.

“56,000 dollars that we’ve spent so far,” noted Rep. Sam Mims during the House floor debate.

And there’s likely to be additional costs for the heartbeat bill challenge. But supporters say it’s worth it.

“There’s no cost we can put on a human life," added Laura Duran, President of Pro-Life Mississippi. "Because we don’t want to kill out generations of people, our lovely beautiful children knowing what they can become. There’s no cost you can put on it.”

Most advocates have said the bill will effectively ban abortions because most women don’t realize they’re pregnant at six weeks, the time when a fetal heartbeat is detectable.

“Mississippi has the highest volume of searches for self termination of any state in the country," said Brown-Williams. "So we know that people are already looking for ways to do this on their own. And they do this because access is already so limited.”

“We know they can get help if they really want the help," noted Duran. "They don’t have to hurt themselves or their babies.”

Bryant replied to the Center for Reproductive Rights in a tweet Wednesday. The Center provides legal representation to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only remaining abortion clinic.

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