Mississippi abortion clinic sues to block strict abortion law

[JURIST] An abortion clinic in Mississippi on Wednesday filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] in the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] challenging a new abortion regulation [HB 1390 materials] that is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The new law requires that all physicians performing abortions at a clinic to be a licensed OB-GYN and have privileges to admit patients into a hospital facility. It was signed by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant [official website] on April 16. In its complaint, the Jackson Women's Health Organization [advocacy website], Mississippi's only abortion clinic, alleges that the regulations effectively ban abortions in the state and are not medically necessary. They said that they were unable to meet the requirements of the legislation, meaning they will not be able to perform abortions after July 1:

Despite Plaintiffs' diligent efforts since the Act was passed, it is impossible for them to comply with the new admitting privileges requirement by July 1, 2012. Upon information and belief, the Clinic is the only abortion provider in Mississippi. Thus, absent relief from this Court, Plaintiffs will be forced to stop providing abortion care to women in Mississippi as of July 1, 2012, leaving those women with nowhere else to turn. For these reasons, the Act will endanger the health of women in Mississippi and violate their constitutional rights.
The clinic is asking the court to issue an immediate temporary injunction preventing the law from going into effect on July 1 and a permanent injunction barring the regulation from taking effect in the future.

This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt appealed a ruling [JURIST report] by a district court judge that held that an abortion ultrasound bill is unconstitutional. Earlier this month, Louisiana Governor Bob Jindal signed a bill increasing abortion restrictions in the state. In May, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs [JURIST report] that they "reasonably believe" might result in the termination of a pregnancy. Earlier that month, a judge for the District Court of Oklahoma County ruled [JURIST report] that a law restricting how doctors may use abortion-inducing drugs to treat patients was a violation of the Oklahoma Constitution. In April, the Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks [JURIST report] into a pregnancy, with an exception carved out only for medical emergencies. In March, Utah passed a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours [JURIST report] prior to obtaining the procedure.

 

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