October 26, 2020

The Latest: Federal judge questions Mississippi’s new abortion law

A federal judge who struck down Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban last year is sharply questioning a new state law that bans abortions even earlier.

The new law prohibits most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That’s at about six weeks, when many women may not know they are pregnant.

During a hearing Tuesday, attorneys for the state’s only abortion clinic asked U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves to block the law from taking effect July 1.

He said he would decide soon, but didn’t specify when.

Reeves noted the law has no exceptions for rape or incest. He asked state attorneys whether the law would require a 10- or 11-year-old girl who is impregnated by rape to carry the pregnancy to term if she waits too long to tell anyone what happened.