Mississippi defends 15-week abortion ban in appeals court

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The state of Mississippi says a federal court erred in not letting it present evidence about whether a fetus experiences pain.

Attorney Paul Barnes addressed the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday about a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The state’s only abortion clinic sued and U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the law from taking effect last year, saying it “unequivocally” violates women’s constitutional rights because it bans abortion weeks before viability.

Barnes said the case’s outcome was “preordained” as soon as Reeves determined he wasn’t going to consider evidence outside of viability.

But a lawyer for the abortion clinic says the Supreme Court has been clear about a women’s right to have an abortion before the fetus is viable.

FILE – In this Oct. 2, 2019 file photo, an abortion opponent sings to herself outside the Jackson Womens Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss. Three judges from a conservative federal appeals court are hearing arguments, Monday, Oct. 7, over a Mississippi law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law in 2018, the state’s only abortion clinic immediately sued and U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the law from taking effect. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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