Mississippi governor wants appeal of ruling on abortion ban

November 21, 2018 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s governor wants the state to appeal a ruling striking down an abortion law that would have been one of the most restrictive in the country.

The measure sought to ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Tuesday ruled the law was unconstitutional.

“Gov. Bryant has been committed to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child since taking office and is disappointed in Tuesday’s ruling against a law that protects both mother and child,” spokesman Knox Graham told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “He fully supports the defense of this law moving forward.”


However, Bryant isn’t a named defendant and an appeal would be decided by Democratic state Attorney General Jim Hood and others who were sued. Margaret Ann Morgan, a spokeswoman for Hood, said Hood wouldn’t respond until Friday about whether he will appeal. Hood’s office has defended the law, but he has been pessimistic about his chances for success.

The law’s supporters always intended it as a test case seeking a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that states can prohibit abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. Current federal law says states cannot ban abortions before then. However, supporters hope recent changes in the membership of the Supreme Court, including the addition of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, will open the way for a successful challenge to Roe v. Wade. Reeves acknowledged that in his ruling.

“The state is making a deliberate effort to overturn Roe and established constitutional precedent,” the judge wrote. “With the recent changes in the membership of the Supreme Court, it may be that the State believes divine providence covered the Capitol when it passed this legislation. Time will tell. If overturning Roe is the State’s desired result, the State will have to seek that relief from a higher court. For now, the United States Supreme Court has spoken.”


An earlier version of this story was clarified to show that Bryant doesn’t control the appeals process.