Supreme Court appoints special judge to hear Jackson abortion clinic’s challenge to trigger law

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health preview
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health preview
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A South Mississippi chancellor has been tapped to hear a Jackson abortion clinic’s challenge to the state’s trigger law.

Thursday, the Mississippi Supreme Court appointed Fourth Chancery District Judge Debbra K. Halford to preside over Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Thomas E. Dobbs and others, challenging the constitutionality of Mississippi’s trigger law that would ban most abortions.

JWHO filed the challenge in Hinds County Chancery Court earlier this week after Attorney General Lynn Fitch certified the trigger law, which would make most abortions in the state illegal.

All four chancery judges in the county recused themselves in the case.

The trigger law, meanwhile, is slated to go into effect 10 days after June 27. It would ban most abortions, but allows the procedures in cases of rape where formal charges have been filed and in cases where they are required to protect the life of the mother.

The suit was filed on behalf of the JWHO by the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.

JHWO argues that the state Supreme Court upheld the right to an abortion in a 1998 ruling and that the ruling “is binding precedent that prevents the state... from outlawing abortion regardless of the status of the current federal law.”

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