Texas Attorney General Argues at Fifth Circuit in Defense of State Laws Protecting Women’s Health and the Unborn

AUSTIN –Attorneys from Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office today urged the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to reverse a U.S. District Court decision enjoining a Mississippi law that generally restricts non-emergency abortions to the first 15 weeks of a woman’s pregnancy.

Mississippi enacted the Gestational Age Act in March 2018. The lone abortion clinic in Mississippi, which provides only a handful of abortions during the 15th week of pregnancy and none after the 16th week, immediately filed a challenge to this law. A U.S. District Court declared the law unconstitutional, despite legislative findings that at just 12 weeks an unborn baby can sense stimulation from the outside world and has developed all basic physiological functions.

“An abortion is not just another routine and victimless procedure. The Mississippi Legislature recognized this when it passed a law that accords with the beliefs of 3 out of 4 Americans who agree that abortion should be restricted after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy,” Attorney General Paxton said. “There is ample evidence that unborn babies at this stage experience pain as they are killed in their mother’s womb and that later-term abortion procedures are riskier for women. We hope that the Fifth Circuit understands the suffering that both the mother and unborn child experience without this reasonable regulation.”

In March, Texas and Louisiana filed an amicus brief in support of Mississippi’s abortion law, arguing that States have the right to protect unborn life in light of emerging evidence of fetal development and fetal pain.