Pro-life doctors fear Mississippi abortion ban may not be valid yet

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 9:58 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A group of pro-life doctors fears Mississippi’s abortion ban may not be valid just yet.

The Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) filed a lawsuit Monday in hopes of making sure it is.

MJI is the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy and is representing the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) in this suit.

Aaron Rice, the director of MJI, said he’s not so sure the state’s trigger law is valid, and it’s all because of a 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court opinion called Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice.

The opinion holds that abortion is a right protected by the state constitution.

Rice said this legal uncertainty has placed the state’s physicians in an impossible “Catch-22.”

“We’re in a situation where elective abortions appear to be both statutorily illegal but a constitutional right, according to this 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court opinion,” he said.

Aside from clarifying state law, Rice said the lawsuit also aims to protect doctors from possible punishment by medical institutions.

“There are several professional medical societies that suggest that it is unethical for doctors to refuse to participate in or refer patients for elective abortion and that those doctors could be punished by the state if they refuse to do so,” Rice said.

He said the Mississippi Supreme Court relied heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinions when ruling in the Fordice case.

Now that the high court’s opinions have changed, he said the states’ should too.

The lawsuit was filed in the Hinds County Chancery Court and will likely be decided by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

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