The clinic in question, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, filed a lawsuit June 27 challenging the new law that was to take effect July 1. The law would require anyone doing abortions at the clinic to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital, something the clinic lacks, despite efforts to obtain such privileges. The two physicians who do abortions there have applied for hospital privileges but have not been granted them. The clinic owner said she does not expect them to be given the access, partly because she believes hospitals do not want abortion protesters outside on their sidewalks.
The owner says the law will limit women’s access to a constitutionally permitted procedure and should be overturned. The lawsuit also says the admitting privileges requirement is not medically necessary and was designed purely to limit women’s access to abortion. The closest abortion clinics to Jackson are about 200 miles away, in Louisiana, Tennessee or Alabama.
Later this week Jordan will hear arguments about whether to extend the temporary block he put on the law the day it was to take effect. The problem for supporters may end up being their own words. Backers have said they hoped the bill would result in no more abortions being performed in the state, something that could be construed as a law that has been clearly designed to place a substantial burden on women seeking the procedure. Mississippi Republican Governor Phil Bryant has said he believes the law will protect women’s health. However, before the bill was passed he also said he wants Mississippi to be “abortion-free.” No matter which way he goes the ruling will almost certainly be appealed.
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Source: “Daniel P. Jordan III, GOP-Appointed Judge, Hears Mississippi Abortion Law Case,” by Emily Wagster Pettus, published at HuffingtonPost.com.