The Judge Who Told the Truth About the Mississippi Abortion Ban

Of all the arguments that animate the anti-abortion cause, two stand out as particularly far-fetched: that banning abortion protects women’s health and shields African Americans from genocide. Yet for years, these arguments have driven debates over state laws, served as justifications for court decisions upholding those laws, and even appeared on billboards warning women in predominantly Black communities not to kill their babies. Three years ago, Mississippi lawmakers prohibited almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy to save women, they said, from serious “medical, emotional, and psychological” damage.

It has taken  Federal Judge Carlton Reeves to call out these claims for what they surely are: “pure gaslighting.”

Rejecting sophistry from the state’s legislators that the ban wasn’t really a “ban,” Reeves revealed the truth as he saw it: The state passed a law “it knew was unconstitutional to endorse a decades-long campaign … to ask the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.” He then scolded the lawmakers for pretending to care about women’s health and the well-being of the unborn and people of color while having the nation’s highest infant-mortality rate, tolerating “alarming” poverty and maternal-death rates, and curtailing health-care programs such as Medicaid. He accused legislators of perpetuating “the old Mississippi,” the one that didn’t allow women to serve on juries until 1968, the one that systematically sterilized Black women—getting a “Mississippi appendectomy,” it was called—and the one that, in 1984, became the last state to guarantee women the right to vote. He recounted Mississippi’s long history of denying its citizens’ constitutional rights with segregated schools, prohibitions on same-sex marriage, and a “secret intelligence arm” that enforced racial discrimination. Far from helping women and minorities, Reeves wrote, the state still seemed “bent on controlling” them.

Read the entire article at The Atlantic.

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