A Mississippi late-term abortion restriction that has received widespread criticism within U.S. media would be mainstream in Europe, according to a new study that found that 47 European countries have restrictions that are similar to Mississippi’s law — if not more restrictive.
The study by the pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute was released this week as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear a fall case on the constitutionality of Mississippi’s law, which prohibits abortion after the fifteenth week of a woman’s term. The law includes exceptions for medical emergencies and fetal abnormality.
The study’s conclusion: United States abortion law is typically more liberal than that of European countries.
“No European country allows elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy as is permitted in the United States, where Supreme Court precedent only allows states to regulate it after viability,” Angelina B. Nguyen, an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, wrote in the study.
By comparison, 39 European countries limit elective abortion to 15 weeks or earlier in the pregnancy, while eight European countries do not allow elective abortion, the study found.
Due to Supreme Court precedent, no state in the U.S. prohibits elective abortion after fifteen weeks, the study said.
“The Mississippi late-term abortion restriction at 15 weeks is not extreme by any measure when compared with European law,” Nguyen wrote.
Instead, Mississippi law “is among the mainstream in comparison to European limitations on elective abortion,” she wrote.
The text of the Mississippi law says abortions after fifteen weeks mostly involve the “use of surgical instruments to crush and tear the unborn child apart.” Such an abortion is called a dilation and evacuation abortion in the medical realm.
“The Legislature finds that the intentional commitment of such acts for nontherapeutic or elective reasons is a barbaric practice, dangerous for the maternal patient, and demeaning to the medical profession,” the law says.
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.