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Mississippi Could Soon Have the Most Restrictive Abortion Ban in the U.S.

The Mississippi Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a move toward making Mississippi's abortion laws the most restrictive in the nation, the Clarion-Ledger reports.

House Bill 1510 would amend the current state law that prohibits abortion procedures after 20 weeks of a woman's last menstrual cycle.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant is expected to approve the bill. "As I have repeatedly said, I want Mississippi to be the safest place in America for an unborn child," Bryant wrote in a tweet on Tuesday. "House Bill 1510 will help us achieve that goal."

Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi, performs the procedure for women pregnant up to 16 weeks. Diane Derzis, the clinic's owner, told the Clarion-Ledger she plans to file a lawsuit against the bill. If the bill is passed, her clinic would have to refer any woman past 15-weeks pregnant to out-of-state clinics.

"I'm not surprised," Derzis told the Clarion-Ledger after the 35–14 Senate vote. She said that the 15-week ban is unconstitutional considering the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that affirmed women's rights to abortion. "It's poor women forced into having a child they neither want nor can afford—and neither does the state of Mississippi."