The Fifth Circuit won’t rehear arguments over a Mississippi law that prohibits abortion after a fetus reaches 15 weeks’ gestation, the court announced Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit didn’t explain why it’s letting a December panel decision holding the law unconstitutional stand.
The panel reasoned that, while states can regulate abortion before a fetus would be unable to live outside the womb—so long as the regulation doesn’t impose an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional rights —they may not ban the procedure outright. Mississippi’s law imposed a ban, it said.
Mississippi asked for a redo, urging all the court’s judges to hear arguments over the law’s validity. The state’s legitimate interests in regulating abortion should be taken into account when a court is considering the constitutionality of any law that restricts previability abortions, it said.
The law, which prohibits health-care providers from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform an abortion on an “unborn human being” if 15 or more weeks have passed since a woman’s last menstrual period, was “unequivocally” unconstitutional, the trial court said.
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Mississippi Center for Justice represented the health-care provider. The Mississippi Attorney General’s Office represented the state.
The case is Jackson Women’s Health Org. v. Dobbs, 5th Cir., No. 18-60868, rehearing denied 1/17/20.