Anti-abortion Mississippi governor claims fetuses can live outside the womb at 15 weeks
CNN/screen grab

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) defended his state's controversial abortion ban by claiming that fetuses can live outside the womb at 15 weeks.

Reeves made the dubious assertion during a Sunday interview with CNN host Jake Tapper, who pointed out that the Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments against Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. The law also has no exceptions for women and children who became pregnant through rape or incest.

"For people such as myself that are pro-life, I believe that the Supreme Court made a mistake [by upholding abortion rights] in the 1970s," Reeves said. "But that's not the issue at stake that is before the court, hopefully when the arguments are heard sometime in the fall."

"The fact is we know so much more in America today about the formation of young [fetuses] in the womb than we did when Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973," he continued. "And what we know now, Jake, is that we know that the heart partially formed at 15 weeks. We know that the [fetus] in the womb is practicing breathing. We know that most internal organs have started to form and we believe that child is viable outside the womb."

A 2015 study published by the New England Journal of Medicine examined 4,987 infants born before 27 weeks and found that none of the children who were born before 22 weeks survived.

Tapper also asked Reeves about the Mississippi law's failure to provide exceptions for women and girls who become pregnant through rape or incest.

"I'm not telling any [pregnant] child in Mississippi anything," Reeves said, deflecting. "What I'm telling everyone is we believe that abortions are murdering literally millions and millions and millions of Americans across many, many years and it's a sad, sad state of affairs and we're going to work very hard to make sure that when that baby becomes viable that it is treated as a human life because that is exactly what it is."

Watch the video below from CNN.