The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on Wednesday continued to block a law that would shutter the state’s only abortion clinic.
“Today’s decision means a woman in Mississippi will continue to be able to make her own personal health care decisions in consultation with her family, her faith and her physician – at least for the time being,” Kay Scott, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southeast, said. “Women’s health is of paramount importance to Planned Parenthood. While this case continues, there are health care challenges in Mississippi that Planned Parenthood is working to address every day. Mississippi has some of the worst health outcomes for women, including some of the highest rates of unintended pregnancies, maternal and infant mortality, and sexually transmitted infections including HIV.”
District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III issued a restraining order shortly after the law went into effect on July 1, effectively saving the Jackson Women’s Health Organization from being shut down. After a hearing on Wednesday, Jordan continued to block the law from being implemented.
The new law, passed by the state’s Republicans with the support of Gov. Phil Bryant (R), requires doctors who perform abortions to become registered in obstetrics and gynecology and secure permission to admit patients to a local hospital.
However, it is extremely rare for women to experience severe medical complications during abortions. In addition, not a single one of the physicians at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization have been granted permission to hospitalize patients.
Republicans have boasted that the law would eliminate legal abortion in the state — a boast that has come back to bite them.
Despite pleas from state attorneys to ignore public officials’ statements, Jordan said there was evidence the law was intended to eliminate access to abortion, which is a constitutional right according to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“In this case, Plaintiffs have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi,” Jordan wrote in his restraining order. “They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.”
With prior reporting by Stephen C. Webster
[Abortion protester via Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com]
[Ed. note: Updated after publication]