Pro-life legislators in Mississippi are working on a bill to ban abortions at 15 weeks but there is uncertainty if it will withstand an inevitable court challenge.
The bill, now in the Senate after passing the House, would establish a first-in-the-nation 15-week ban, which naturally means pro-abortion groups are loudly opposing it and readying a court fight.
Rob Chambers, vice president of AFA Action, says one legal argument for the pro-life bill is Gonzales v. Carhart, a 2006 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that banned partial-birth abortion.
"The Supreme Court did have language in it that did support pre-viability," says Chambers, "which means you could interpret that the Supreme Court could say that, well, we have already decided that in the case of partial-birth abortion that a 15-week fetus or unborn baby could be protected."
In the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, the 1973 ruling says the state has an important interest in protecting human life and again in a 1992 case, Chambers points out.
If the bill becomes law and a lawsuit is filed in a federal court, it could travel to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, then likely to the U.S. Supreme Court based on that court's own precedents.