Nation

Mississippi House backs abortion ban at 15 weeks, earliest in US

JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi House on Friday approved a bill that could make the state the first to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, setting up a possible court challenge.

Mississippi already bans most abortions after 20 weeks. The state is tied with North Carolina for the nation’s earliest ban.

Members of the Republican-controlled House passed the bill by a vote of 79 to 31, with Republicans and some Democrats supporting it.

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The measure would allow exceptions if a woman’s life is endangered or if a fetus has a severe abnormality.

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The measure now goes to the state Senate for more debate.

House Judiciary B Committee Chairman Andy Gipson, a Braxton Republican, said Mississippi wants to prevent women from being adversely affected by abortion and what he called “fake health care.”

‘‘Women deserve real health care, not some fake health care that involves the destruction of human life and a woman’s health,’’ said Gipson, a lawyer and Baptist minister.

Felicia Brown-Williams, state director for Planned Parenthood Advocates Southeast, has called the proposal unconstitutional, saying the US Supreme Court won’t allow bans before a fetus can live outside the womb.