Federal court blocks closure of only MS abortion clinic

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New Orleans, LA, United States (4E) – Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic can remain open, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled on Tuesday.

The court’s three-judge panel voted 2-1 to uphold a preliminary injunction issued by the U.S. District of Court in Jackson against the state’s House Bill 1390 passed in April 2012. The bill closes the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) for failing to have certified obstetrician-gynecologist who will perform abortion.

JWHO said the law is unconstitutional as it virtually bans abortion in the state or burdens women seeking abortion in Mississippi

Gov. Phil Bryant expressed disappointment over the ruling and said Tuesday he will petition the court to issue a ruling en banc.

JWHO had tried to comply with the law but nearby hospitals refused to provide admitting privileges to its physicians as required by the law. The state then moved to strip the clinic of its license prompting the latter to seek a court injunction.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights filed the lawsuit on behalf of the clinic and provides its main legal counsel.

Thirty-nine other states also require OB-GYNs perform abortions, and nine states mandate hospital privileges, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to sexual and reproductive rights. The American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, claimed in a 2013 court filing that the requirements actually put women at risk by making safe abortions more difficult to obtain.

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