Healthcare advocates breathed a sigh of relief but said the “fight is not over” after a federal judge on Friday struck down Mississippi’s six-week abortion ban.
The southern state’s law, which would have taken effect July 1, is one in a wave of state-level anti-choice measures recently passed that critics say are meant to provoke a challenge to Roe v. Wade.
U.S. Judge Carlton Reeves—who ruled against the state’s 15-week abortion ban just six months ago—said Tuesday during arguments that the new law “smacks of defiance to this court.”
Reeves also pointed to the law’s lack of exception for rape, according to the Clarion Ledger.
“So a child who is raped at 10 or 11 years old, that child does not open their mouth, doesn’t tell their parents, the rapist may be in their home, nobody discovers until it’s too late—that is a fetal heartbeat has been detected—that child must bring the fetus to term under this statute, if the fetal heartbeat can be detected,” Reeves said.
The law, he said in issuing the preliminary injunction on Friday, “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights, especially considering most women do not seek abortions services until after six weeks.”
Reeves added that “by banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the law prevents a woman’s free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.”
The challenge was brought by Center for Reproductive Rights, which cheered the ruling on Twitter.
Other reproductive rights advocates also praised the judge’s decision and pointed to ongoing threats to abortion access.
Another anti-choice law—a near total abortion ban in Alabama—was just hit with a lawsuit.
The legal challenge, filed Friday, was brought by the ACLU, ACLU of Alabama, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
“This law is blatantly unconstitutional,” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney at the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, “and the ACLU will not stand by while politicians emboldened by President Trump’s anti-abortion agenda exploit our health and our lives for political gain.”