JACKSON, Miss. (AP/CBS/KNOE) - A federal judge is temporarily blocking a Mississippi law that bans most abortions once a so-called fetal heartbeat is detected.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Friday issued an order to stop the law from taking effect July 1.
The law bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected in the embryo. This "flutter" in the area that will eventually become a heart can usually be detected by improved ultrasound technology at around six weeks of pregnancy.
Mississippi is one of six states that have recently passed extreme anti-abortion legislation aimed at the Supreme Court this legislative session. Three other states — Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio — have passed their own so-called "fetal heartbeat" bills, while Missouri just passed an omnibus anti-abortion bill that includes an eight-week ban on abortions in that state. Last week, Alabama's Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the most restrictive anti-abortion bill of all: a near-total ban on the procedure with no exceptions for rape or incest.
None of those bills are currently in effect. Kentucky's has been blocked by a federal judge and the American Civil Liberties Union just challenged Ohio's bill last week. Women's reproductive rights advocates, like the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, have vowed to challenge Georgia's "heartbeat" bill long before January 2020, when it's scheduled to go into effect.
Louisiana has a similar law in the works that would take effect if Mississippi's law survives legal challenges.
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