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Mississippi lawmakers pass nation's most restrictive abortion ban

The Hill logo The Hill 3/8/2018 Rachel Roubein
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Mississippi lawmakers have passed the country's most restrictive abortion law, a measure the governor is expected to sign.

The Mississippi House approved the measure in a 75 to 34 vote, according to The Associated Press.

The bill would change the state's current law prohibiting abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy to 15 weeks. It includes exceptions if the woman's life or a "major bodily function" is threatened or if the fetus has a health problem that would mean it likely wouldn't survive outside the womb. It doesn't include exemptions in cases of rape or incest, according to the AP.

The Senate passed the bill in a 35 to 14 vote after a heated floor debate, and it was sent back to the House. Senators had stripped the House's language that would punish physicians who performed abortions after 15 weeks, according to the Clarion Ledger.

Gov. Phil Bryant (R-Miss.) voiced his support for the measure.

"I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child," Bryant tweeted Tuesday.

Mississippi's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, has already threatened to sue.

Clinic owner Diane Derzis told the Clarion Ledger that bill means the clinic will have to refer people out of state and that "we will be planning to sue."

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