News Law and Policy

New Laws Restricting Abortion Take Effect in Mississippi and Florida

Teddy Wilson

Mississippi's new law is a 20-week ban, while Florida's creates additional restrictions on abortions performed in the third trimester, and bans abortion at any point in a pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the pregnant person’s body.

New laws that will further restrict access to abortion care later in pregnancy went into effect Tuesday in Mississippi and Florida.

Mississippi’s new law bans abortion at 20 weeks after a woman’s last menstrual period. Often referred to as a 20-week ban, the new law actually bans abortion after 18 weeks’ gestation. The original language of the legislation would have banned abortion at 20 weeks, but lawmakers amended the bill to push back the cutoff.

Mississippi joins 21 other states that have passed similar laws. However, Mississippi’s version of the legislation contains no exceptions for rape or incest, and only a limited exception for the health of the pregnant person or for fatal abnormalities in the fetus.

There is currently only one clinic in the state that provides abortion care, and it only provides abortion up to 16 weeks’ gestation. Like in Missouri, Mississippi’s governor and state lawmakers have been targeting the state’s lone abortion clinic with restrictions and regulations. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said that it is his goal to “end abortion in Mississippi.

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Meanwhile, Florida’s new law creates additional restrictions on abortions performed in the third trimester, and bans abortions at any point in a pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the pregnant person’s body.

Current Florida law bans abortions after 24 weeks’ gestation, unless the life or health of the pregnant person is threatened; the new law narrows those exceptions and removes mental health conditions from being considered among the exceptions.

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