Faulty Science Used to Justify Mississippi Abortion Bill

Silencing Science Tracker

Faulty Science Used to Justify Mississippi Abortion Bill

On January 15, 2018, a bill (House Bill 1510) prohibiting most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation was introduced into the Mississippi House of Representatives. The bill was passed by the House on February 2, 2018, and then referred to the Senate, which passed the bill on March 6, 2018.

During debate on the bill, State Senator Joey Fillingane argued that it is necessary due to recent advances in science and technology, which make the state’s current ban on abortions after 20 weeks outdated. Senator Fillingane reportedly told journalists that “[a]bortion is one of the areas where technology is really driving the debate.” The Senator then asserted that technological advances are enabling fetuses to live outside the womb earlier and suggested that fetuses may be viable at 15 weeks. That view is not, however, supported by the available science. Senator Fillingane appeared to acknowledge this, stating that the technological advances making fetuses viable from 15 weeks have not yet occurred. However, he predicted that they would occur within the next two to three years, before the conclusion any litigation concerning the 15-week ban.

UpdateThe Governor of Mississippi, Phil Bryant, signed House Bill 1510 into law on March 19, 2018. A lawsuit challenging the bill was filed on the same day. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi temporarily prevented the bill entering into force.


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