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Lawmakers Pass Most Restrictive Abortion Bill in Nation

Lawmakers Pass Most Restrictive Abortion Bill in Nation
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(D) Rep. Andrienne Wooten posing question to (R) Rep. Andy Gipson
Associated Press

Mississippi is poised to have the strictest abortion law in the nation. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, the issue could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mississippi lawmakers in the House voted 75 to 34 to pass HB1510. The bill bans abortions after 15 weeks instead of the current 20 weeks. House Democrat Alyce Clarke of Jackson voted against the measure. While she doesn't support abortion, she thinks putting this law in place without comprehensive sex education is wrong.

"In the 34 years I've been here they come up with a more restrictive abortion law every year. And we don't want to give mothers family planning. We don't want to pass out contraceptives," said Clarke.

Republican House Speaker Phillip Gunn supports the measure.

"We've worked very hard over many many years to try and protect the sanctity of human life. We believe in the value of human life and we think this is something that is important," said Gunn.

Abortion Rights advocates are calling the bill unconstitutional. Felicia Brown-Williams with Planned Parenthood was at the capitol recently urging lawmakers not to support HB1510. She said its an attempt to ultimately challenge a woman's right to an abortion.

"The national anti-abortion group is pushing this legislation specifically in states where they feel like they might be able to get a favorable court judgement because they'd like to take this to the Supreme Court and they're hope is that they can overturn Roe V. Wade," said Williams.

The owner of the only abortion clinic in Jackson, plans to sue the state. State Attorney General Jim Hood says he expects an immediate and expensive legal challenge to the bill. He added measures in other states banning abortions before 20 weeks have been struck down. Governor Phil Bryant says he'll sign the bill.