Appeals court denies Mississippi request to reconsider 15-week abortion ban

Appeals court denies Mississippi request to reconsider 15-week abortion ban
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A federal appeals court on Friday denied a request from Mississippi to reconsider a ruling striking down the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks. 

A three judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last month blocked the law as unconstitutional. Mississippi then asked the full court to reconsider the case, but that request was denied Friday. 

The December ruling made clear that Supreme Court precedent clearly protects the right to an abortion. 

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“States may regulate abortion procedures prior to viability so long as they do not impose an undue burden on the woman’s right, but they may not ban abortions,” the court said last month. “The law at issue is a ban.”

The Mississippi law is one of a slew of strict abortion restrictions that states have passed in recent years. It or another abortion ban could reach the Supreme Court, where anti-abortion advocates hope the court will overturn Roe v. Wade. 

That possibility has worried abortion rights supporters given that President TrumpDonald John TrumpCensus Bureau spends millions on ad campaign to mitigate fears on excluded citizenship question Bloomberg campaign: Primary is two-way race with Sanders Democratic senator meets with Iranian foreign minister MORE has now been able to appoint two justices, giving the high court a more conservative 5-4 majority. 

The court will hear a closely watched abortion case in March over a Louisiana law requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital. That case is seen as a chance for the court to weigh in on abortion rights more broadly.