On International Women’s Day, while women around the world held events and rallied in support of fairer pay and equal protection under the law, elected officials in Mississippi passed the most restrictive reproductive health care bill in the United States, banning abortion after 15 weeks. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he intends to sign it into law as soon as it reaches his desk.

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Mississippi, which has just one clinic that provides abortions statewide, will now be the first state in the nation to ban the procedure at 15 weeks, five weeks before most restrictive bans (and Mississippi’s previous ban) kick in. To understand just how incredibly dangerous this bill is, it’s important to remember that fetal anatomy scans, the medical procedure that reveals any potential harmful abnormalities, are conducted when women are 20 weeks pregnant.

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The bill, which does not make exemptions for pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest, does allow for abortions in cases of severe fetal abnormalities—which it narrowly defines as a physical condition “incompatible with life outside the womb”—or for medical emergencies when the woman’s life is at stake. H.B. 1510 also stipulates that providers who perform abortions after the 15-week ban could be fined up to $500 and lose their state medical licenses.

Legal experts predict the bill will face obstacles in court, given that it violates Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ruled that states cannot ban abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb. “Clearly, over the last 45 years the point of viability has moved forward in time, so that it’s no longer what it was then,” Geoffrey Stone, a law professor at the University of Chicago, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “But it’s far beyond 15 weeks.”

Diane Derzis, who owns Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the lone clinic in Mississippi, said she may pursue legal action to have H.B. 1510 overturned.

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“This change to the law has twin purposes: to force women to have babies they don’t want, and then to stigmatize and undermine the resulting single mothers. It’ll be the worst thing that we do here today,” said State Sen. Deborah Dawkins, a Democrat, in a roundtable held by the Mississippi Edition.

But Derzis is worried about far broader implications: “These groups are tossing anything and everything out there, anything that could start winding its way through the legal system because we’re in a very fragile place right now,” Derzis told the ClarionLedger. “Roe is clearly in danger and that’s what they’re preparing for. … They hope by the time they get to the Supreme Court, they will have changed the Supreme Court.”

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