Feb. 20 (UPI) -- A federal appeals court panel struck down Mississippi's "heartbeat" abortion on Thursday.
The panel of three judges from the 5th U.S. Circuit court of appeals declared the law banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually between six weeks and eight weeks of pregnancy, unconstitutional.
Thursday's decision will temporarily block the law from going into effect, reinforcing a ruling by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves in May, just before the law was set to take effect.
In December, the 5th Circuit blocked another Mississippi law banning abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
"[A]ll agree that cardiac activity can be detected well before the fetus is viable. That dooms the law. If a ban on abortion after 15 weeks is unconstitutional, then it follows that a ban on abortion at an earlier stage of pregnancy is also unconstitutional," the appeals court said in Thursday's ruling.