Mississippi's last abortion clinic stays open for now - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

Mississippi's last abortion clinic stays open for now

Source: WLBT archives Source: WLBT archives
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has refused to reconsider the constitutionality of Mississippi's law, which requires a physician performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

In refusing to reconsider the case, the Fifth Circuit also continued to block the law from taking effect, allowing the last clinic in the state to remain open as the legal challenge continues. 

The case now heads back to the federal district court.

Shannon Brewer is Director of the Jackson Women's Health Organization, which performs 30-40 abortions per week. She calls the decision a victory.

"We've been hopeful that the women will speak up and the courts will realize that this is an undue burden on women, on this place of business," she says.

Following the lawsuit brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of the Jackson Women's Health Organization and Dr. Willie Parker, the law was partially blocked in July 2012 and later fully blocked in April 2013—barring the state from imposing criminal and civil penalties on the clinic doctors and on staff pending the outcome of the litigation. 

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit heard arguments in the preliminary injunction in April 2014 and upheld the injunction blocking the law in July 2014.

Although all the doctors currently providing abortions to women at the Mississippi clinic are board-certified ob-gyns, the physicians responsible for providing abortions to the vast majority of the clinic's patients have been unable to obtain privileges at any hospital in the area—in fact, no hospital would even process the physicians' applications, with several hospitals citing their policies on abortion care.

The next nearest clinics for Mississippi residents are approximately three hours away, with most neighboring states requiring a mandatory 24-hour waiting period.

Governor Phil Bryant released this statement regarding the latest court decision: "I am certainly disappointed in the court's decision. This not only places women's health in jeopardy but allows physicians to practice this dangerous medical procedure without the benefit of admitting privileges to a local hospital."

You can read the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Order here.

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