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Miss. governor signs mid-pregnancy abortion ban

Gov. Phil Bryant

Gov. Phil Bryant

JACKSON, Mississippi — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed a bill to ban abortion at the midpoint of a full-term pregnancy.

Supporters say it’s designed to protect women’s health, while abortion-rights advocates say it’s unconstitutional.

Bryant signed House Bill 1400 on Wednesday. It becomes law July 1.

It will ban abortion starting at 20 weeks’ gestational age. That’s defined as 20 weeks since the start of the woman’s last menstrual period. A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks.

Felicia Brown-Williams, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast, says the Mississippi law is similar to an Arizona law blocked by a federal appeals court.

Judges found the Arizona law violated the constitutionally protected right abortion before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. Viability is generally considered to start at 24 weeks.

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