Mississippi governor signs 'heartbeat bill' into law. Next up: A legal fight

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is the latest governor to sign into law a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.The bill,...

Posted: Mar 22, 2019 9:11 AM

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is the latest governor to sign into law a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The bill, signed Thursday afternoon, would prohibit abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women even know they're pregnant. The only exceptions would be to prevent a woman's death or her serious risk of impairment.

"The heartbeat has been the universal hallmark of life since man's very beginning," Bryant said in an address before signing the bill. "I can remember the exciting moments both with my children and grandchildren when the first sonograms were taken and that heartbeat could be heard."

But that "celebration is often turned into tragedy when the child's life is taken," he continued. "We here in Mississippi believe in protecting and defending the whole life of that child. ... From education to safety to healthcare, it is the child that we are fighting for here in Mississippi. And today, Senate Bill 2116 begins that at the earliest possible opportunity."

Numerous states across the nation have floated similar bills; right now lawmakers in Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia are trying to pass them. But just as often as they get introduced, they get shut down. They are held up in committees, rejected in legislative votes, vetoed by governors and struck down in courts.

Not one state has managed to put a "heartbeat bill," as they're often referred to, into lasting practice. And yet they keep on happening.

Earlier this week, a judge stopped Kentucky's version of the heartbeat bill from becoming law. Iowa's law, too, was blocked in January, after a judge declared it unconstitutional.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has already promised a fight in Mississippi.

"This ban is one of the most restrictive abortion bans signed into law, and we will take Mississippi to court to make sure it never takes effect," Hillary Schneller, staff attorney for the legal advocacy group, said in a written statement. "A judge struck down the state's 15-week ban just months ago, but lawmakers didn't get the message. They are determined to rob Mississippians of the right to abortion, and they are doing it at the expense of women's health and taxpayer money. This ban -- just like the 15 week ban the Governor signed a year ago -- is cruel and clearly unconstitutional."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57956

Reported Deaths: 2927
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10410429
Cuyahoga7883373
Hamilton6019198
Lucas2752302
Marion273438
Pickaway219741
Summit2143206
Montgomery203427
Mahoning1832232
Butler159944
Columbiana130760
Stark1123112
Lorain103567
Trumbull96770
Warren86021
Clark7669
Delaware58215
Fairfield57216
Tuscarawas56710
Belmont54922
Medina52332
Lake50018
Licking49312
Miami46631
Portage44258
Ashtabula43544
Wood42851
Clermont4146
Geauga40742
Wayne36351
Richland3455
Allen32141
Mercer2829
Greene2589
Darke25125
Erie24422
Holmes2363
Huron2202
Madison1978
Ottawa14923
Sandusky13614
Crawford1355
Washington13520
Putnam12815
Ross1273
Hardin12312
Morrow1161
Coshocton1112
Auglaize1074
Monroe8917
Jefferson882
Union861
Muskingum831
Hancock791
Hocking788
Guernsey743
Preble731
Lawrence710
Williams712
Clinton680
Shelby684
Logan621
Fulton610
Ashland591
Athens591
Carroll593
Wyandot596
Brown571
Defiance513
Knox511
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto410
Champaign401
Perry351
Van Wert350
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding250
Adams241
Jackson230
Pike230
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 75°
Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events