Obama Appointee, Carlton Reeves, Strikes Down Mississippi Pre-viability Abortion Law as “Pure Gas Lighting” by Red-State Legislators
President Obama’s 2010 appointee and civil rights champion, Judge Carlton Reeves of Mississippi’s Southern District, last month struck down a state law banning abortions after 15 weeks that was in clear violation of Roe v. Wade, which states that “viability” (the fetus’ ability to live outside the womb) occurs between 23 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, not after 15 weeks, as Mississippi pro-life legislators would have it.
Under Roe, a women’s right to abort her fetus extends until the fetus is viable.
Judge Reeve’s decision also invalidated a similar Louisiana law, written as contingent on the outcome of the Mississippi lawsuit.
“There is no legitimate state interest strong enough, prior to viability, to justify a ban on abortion,” Reeve wrote in his November 20 decision in Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Currier, a case involving Mary Currier, the State Health Officer for the state of Mississippi.
Jackson Health challenged the Mississippi law on March 20, immediately after Governor Phil Bryant signed it, “pledging his commitment to making Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child,” CNN reported.
Judge Reeves said the law was “pure gas lighting” on the part of legislators pretending to care about women’s health while not “lifting a finger to address the tragedies lurking on the other side of the delivery room, such as high infant and maternal mortality rates” that are all too common in Mississippi’s substandard health care system.
A Decades-long Campaign
Judge Reeves further stated: Mississippi “chose to pass a law it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign, fueled by national interest groups, to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“This court follows the commands of the Supreme Court and the dictates of the United States Constitution, rather than the disingenuous calculations of the Mississippi Legislature”, Reeves wrote in a scalding decision.
He also commented on the “sad irony” of men like him deciding women’s reproductive rights.
“The fact that men, myself included, are determining how women may choose to manage their reproductive health is a sad irony not lost on the court,” Reeves wrote.
A Dozen States Will Ban Abortion
Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s chief legal analyst said Roe is doomed now that Brett Kavanaugh sits on the bench.
When–not if–Roe’s settled precedent is unsettled by the Catholic-heavy Supreme Court, a dozen states will ban women’s right to abortion, Toobin says
Studies show that Catholics who attend church regularly are more likely to be pro-life.
Catholic Judges on the Supreme Court include: Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Brett Kavanaugh.
|Name||Religion||Appt. by||On the Court since|
|John Roberts (Chief Justice)||Roman Catholicism||G.W. Bush||2005|
|Clarence Thomas||Roman Catholicism||G.H.W. Bush||1991|
|Ruth Bader Ginsburg||Judaism||Clinton||1993|
|Samuel Alito||Roman Catholicism||G.W. Bush||2006|
|Sonia Sotomayor||Roman Catholicism||Obama||2009|
|Neil Gorsuch||Episcopalian, raised Roman Catholic||Trump||2017|
|Brett Kavanaugh||Roman Catholicism||Trump||2018|
Red State Abortion Restrictions
The fight against abortion is nothing new. However, Trump’s judicial picks have emboldened legislators around the country to introduce a variety of restrictions in recent months.
- Republican Iowa Governor, Kim Reynolds signed a bill banning abortions after a doctor detects a fetal heartbeat, or as early as six weeks.
- Legislators in the Ohio House of Representatives passed a fetal heartbeat ban. The bill is pending in the state Senate, as of November 21, 2018.
- The Kentucky House of Representatives passed a bill banning dilation and evacuation, a procedure often used in second-trimester abortions, if a patient is more than about 11 weeks pregnant. The bill, signed into law by Republican Governor Matt Bevin in April is being enjoined by a court, Vox reports.
Six states have trigger laws in place that would immediately outlaw abortion, and three states would criminalize it in the event Roe is overturned.
“The ultimate goal “is to get one of the bans to the Supreme Court, where a favorable decision would pave the way for pre-viability bans around the country,” Vox concludes.