A federal judge in Mississippi on Monday temporarily prevented the state’s only abortion clinic from being closed down.
“Today’s ruling provides the state’s only abortion clinic and its doctors with critical protection to continue providing the safe and legal reproductive health care to which Mississippi women are constitutionally entitled,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III extended an injunction he had issued against a law that threatened to shut down the Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Jordan said the state Department of Health could not shut down the clinic while a legal challenge to the measure continues.
“Closing its doors would — as the state seems to concede in this argument — force Mississippi women to leave Mississippi to obtain a legal abortion,” Judge Jordan wrote.
The law requires doctors who perform abortions to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital, even though it is rare for women to experience severe complications when terminating a pregnancy. Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has admitted his goal is to shut the Jackson clinic down.
The physicians at the Jackson clinic are certified obstetrician-gynecologists, but local hospitals have refused to grant them admitting privileges. Health Management Associates Inc., which owns five hospitals in the area, refused to grant them privileges because doing so could create “internal and external disruption of the hospital’s function and business within this community.”