Court of Appeals Upholds Lower Court's Decision to Strike Down “Fetal Heartbeat” Bill, Protecting Women’s Right to Reproductive Freedom

February 21, 2020

On February 20, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision striking down a controversial Mississippi law that would have outlawed almost all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected -- which generally occurs at six weeks of pregnancy. The lower court’s decision from May 2019 prevented the law from going into effect. 

“This decision is a major victory for women across Mississippi,” said Vangela Wade, the President and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice, which helped fight the law in court. “Time and time again, lawmakers try to take away the ability of women to have control over their bodies. In this case, they were aiming to curtail this freedom before most women even knew they were pregnant. Fortunately, the courts have made it clear: These attacks on women violate the constitution, and cannot be allowed to stand.”