Mississippi lawmakers consider abortion ban after 20 weeks

Mississippi lawmakers are considering banning abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, halfway through a normal full-term pregnancy of 40 weeks.

Exceptions would be made to prevent permanent physical damage or death of the pregnant woman, or in cases of several fetal abnormalities.

Health Department statistics show 2,176 abortions were done in Mississippi in 2012, the most recent statistics available. Two were listed at 21 weeks or later, and 382 were listed as unknown gestational age.

Diane Derzis, who owns Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, said the proposed change wouldn’t affect her operation, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. She said the clinic stops doing abortions after 16 weeks. Before an abortion is done, a sonogram is performed and the patient is told the gestational age of the fetus, she said.

Derzis said she’d expect someone to file a legal challenge if a 20-week ban becomes law.