Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Mississippi's Governor has banned all abortions after 20 weeks. 

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi on Wednesday signed a bill that bans abortion at a minimum of 20 weeks of pregnancy, without exception for rape or incest.The law, which takes effect on July 1, defines 20 weeks from the start of the woman’s last menstrual period. It permits exceptions only for expecting mothers who experience medical emergencies or if the fetus suffers risk of not surviving.The piece of legislation also requires a physician must determine the gestational age before attempting to perform an abortion. Failure to comply with the law could result in the revocation or restriction of a medical license.

Another interesting development this week is the repercussion from the affirmative action decision announced at the Supreme Court. Jordan Lorence, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, suggests that Justice Kennedy’s opinion in the affirmative action case may provide a glimpse into how Kennedy would rule on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

Schuette also shows that Justice Kennedy may have a more complex and nuanced view about “animus” motivating voters to approve state constitutional amendments.  He characterized positively the deliberations by voters to approve the Michigan amendment.  Justice Kennedy wrote that Michigan voters approved the amendment based on thoughtful consideration of the evidence and arguments, and not because of rank prejudice (which marriage advocates have been saying for years about the motivation of voters who approved marriage amendments in most states in the union):

It is demeaning to the democratic process to presume that the voters are not capable of deciding an issue of this sensitivity on decent and rational grounds.  The process of public discourse and political debate should not be foreclosed even if there is a risk that during a public campaign, there will be those on both sides who seek to use racial division and discord to their own political advantage.  An informed public can, and must rise above this.