Unfortunately, not a prank.

The Mississippi Legislature passed House Bill 1400, outlawing abortions at 20 weeks or more, with allowed exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is in danger or where it is determined the fetus has problems and no chance of survival. It heads to the Governor’s desk. Gov. Bryant is expected to sign it.

The Clarion Ledger reports:

Planned Parenthood leaders called the measure “an extreme agenda, and said the way the measure counts 20 weeks, from a woman’s last menstrual period, really is an 18-week ban and uses a “political rather than medical standard.”

“Women who make the deeply personal and often complex decision to end a pregnancy after 18 weeks should do so in consultation with their physician, not politicians,” said Felicia Brown-Williams, director of public policy for Planned Parenthood Southeast.

This bill is unconstitutional, the very definition of undue burden, and ultimately unconscionable. We are your daughters, sisters, friends, wives, and mothers. The wealthy will always have access to whatever services they require. As Senator Debbie Dawkins (D-Pass Christian) said, “This is about removing the rights of women without means, whether anybody here is willing to admit it or not.”

Of course, this bill will be challenged: our state is embroiled in its third year of litigation involving its last effort to restrict abortion. If even a fraction of the funds used to defend slipshod reproductive policy were used to foster access to contraception, family planning, and medically accurate education, it would have a tremendous impact on Mississippians and their families.

Please call The Office of the Governor and urge him to reconsider his promise to sign this bill into law.