JACKSON, MS - With just one stroke of the pen, Mississippi now has the toughest abortion law in the country.
"We are saving more of the unborn than any state in America," said Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant.
Known as the Gestational Age Act, it bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, even in cases of incest or rape. The only exceptions to the early ban will be when the woman's life is threatened or the fetus has severe health abnormalities.
As the governor signed the precedent-setting bill into law, he made jokes about backlash from opponents.
"And we'll probably be sued within a half hour and that will be fine with me," Bryant said while laughing.
The governor may have been joking, but his state's only abortion clinic has already announced it will file a lawsuit. Meanwhile, the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood say the law is unconstitutional.
Planned Parenthood's executive Vice President, Dawn Laguens, issued a statement that read, in part:
"This law puts medical decisions in the hands of politicians, rather than women and their doctors, which is incredibly harmful."
The abortion debate has been going on since Roe vs. Wade in 1973. But now in the Magnolia State, doctors who knowingly break the new law could lose their license, face civil penalties, fines up to $500, or a combination.
The governor has said he wants to end abortion in Mississippi altogether, but the reaction on social media indicates, nothing is over, especially the debate.