A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] on Sunday issued a temporary injunction [order, PDF] blocking a controversial Mississippi abortion law [HB 1390 materials] that was scheduled to go into effect July 1. The new law requires that all physicians performing abortions at a clinic be a licensed OB-GYN and have privileges to admit patients into a hospital facility. Mississippi's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization [advocacy website], filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the law last week after they were unable to meet the requirements by the July 1 deadline. Mississippi authorities indicated that they would begin the process of shutting down the clinic on Monday if the law was left in place. The clinic alleges that the regulations effectively ban abortions in the state and are not medically necessary. In issuing the order, Judge Daniel Jordan noted that "though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the Court must follow." The injunction will remain in effect until July 11, when a new hearing will be held to consider extending the injunction.
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 last month, Louisiana Governor Bob Jindal signed a bill increasing abortion restrictions in the state [JURIST report]. 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.