Wherever you stand on the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe vs. Wade, there’s no question the ruling has implications for women in Mississippi and throughout the nation.
Here’s what you need to know about the decision and its impact.
MISSISSIPPI PLAYED A PROMINENT ROLE.
A 2018 Mississippi law, banning nearly all abortions in the state after 15 weeks, prompted a challenge from Jackson Women’s Health Organization that was heard and decided by the Supreme Court – ultimately overturning Roe vs. Wade.
ABORTION IS NOT BANNED NATIONWIDE.
The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization does not institute a blanket ban on abortion throughout the U.S. Rather, it leaves the matter to be decided by the individual states.
Legislation known as trigger laws, which prohibit abortion, were set to take effect immediately or within days of the Dobbs ruling in 13 states, including Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI’S LAST REMAINING ABORTION CLINIC HAS SHUTTERED.
As of early July, Mississippi’s last abortion clinic is no longer in operation. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which was at the center of the historic case that overturned Roe, was unsuccessful in its bid to block the trigger law that went into effect with the Supreme Court’s decision.
MISSISSIPPI’S TRIGGER LAW BANS ABORTION, BUT WITH EXCEPTIONS.
The state’s trigger law, which was set to take effect 10 days after the SCOTUS ruling and has been certified by Attorney General Lynn Fitch, outlaws abortion — which is defined as “the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug or any other substance or device to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant ….”
The law makes exceptions when the mother’s life is endangered and in cases of rape that have been reported to law enforcement.
Under the law, anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion in the state will face a felony charge punishable by one to 10 years in prison.
STATE AND LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS’ REACTION HAS BEEN MIXED.
Not surprisingly, the end of Roe has divided opinion among leaders at all levels of government. Here is what some officials had to say:
“I am so very proud that Mississippi has had a leading role in overturning Roe v. Wade, and I will continue to pray for God’s guidance over the Supreme Court and all policymakers who will now take up the abortion issue across the country.”
– U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith
“The decision on when and whether to start or grow a family is both deeply personal and deeply informed by a person’s individual situation. We believe in the freedom of Mississippians, not the state, to make decisions about their families. We believe in the dignity of Mississippians controlling their bodies and their futures. We believe caring for each other, and our community, is required. We will not stop fighting for a world that reflects those values.”
– Mississippi House Minority Leader Robert L. Johnson Ill and Senate Minority Leader Derrick Slmmons.
“The Dobbs case gives the people back the opportunity to make policy decisions about abortion. It has been held up by unelected judges for nearly 50 years. Now, the people can fully debate and enact laws that reflect their will to both empower women and promote life. I am so proud that Mississippi led the way on this case. Just a week after the Supreme Court’s decision, our law protecting equal pay for equal work took effect, our $3.5-million new tax credit for pregnancy centers was up and running and new laws to help victims of human trafficking kicked in. Our state is showing how to defend the dignity of women, children and life itself.”
– Connie Rockco – District Five Supervisor, Harrison County
“In the wake of the latest decisions by the Supreme Court, many of us are left asking what can be done to protect our most basic rights. We now must look to our legislative branch to protect the rights we cherish.”
– Mississippi Democratic Party Vice Chair Jodie Brown