Court Blocks Law That Would Have Closed Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 20, 2017   |   2:03PM   |   Jackson, Mississippi

A federal court put a permanent halt Friday on a Mississippi law that could have closed the last abortion clinic in the state.

The 2012 state law required abortion facilities to have doctors with hospital admitting privileges in case patients had emergency complications. It has been the subject of legal battles since then; and on Friday, a federal court permanently blocked the law, PBS News reports.

The court’s decision comes not long after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar Texas law last June, ruling that it put an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion.

The pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, which challenged the law on behalf of the only abortion clinic in the state, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, rejoiced at the news.

“Our landmark win at the Supreme Court last summer continues to reverberate across the nation,” CEO Nancy Northup said in a statement. “Any politician trying to roll back women’s constitutional rights should take notice and remember the law is on our side.”

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who supported the law, did not comment on the new ruling, according to news outlets.

Previously, a federal judge’s decision about the law left open the possibility that it could be enforced.

In 2012, U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled that abortion practitioners at Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic were allowed to continue doing them, even if they did not have admitting and staff privileges at an area hospital, as required by the law. However, the judge said state officials could begin an administrative process that could ultimately lead to the closing of the abortion facility.

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However, Jordan also said the closure of the abortion clinic could pose an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion. A federal court agreed on Friday when it permanently blocked the law, according to the report.

The Jackson abortion facility has close ties to other shoddy abortion practices that got shut down in nearby states.

“This law is meant to protect women by ensuring that they have continuity of care in the event of life-threatening abortion complications, where delays can be fatal,” Troy Newman of Operation Rescue previously told LifeNews.

He said the primary abortion practitioner in Jackson, Bruce Elliot Norman, has a history of patients with abortion complications.

“His shoddy medical practices were responsible for another abortion clinic in Alabama to be forced to close in May [2012],” Newman said. “That clinic’s owner, Diane Derzis, who also owns the Jackson Women Health Organization, was banned from any association with any future abortion business there because of her unsafe administration of that abortion business.”

Michael New, a professor who frequently analyzes the effect of pro-life laws on abortion, previously added: “The owner of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Diane Derzis, was also the owner of the All Woman New Woman abortion clinic in Birmingham, Ala. Earlier this year [2012], the Alabama Department of Public Health forced All Woman New Woman to close due to repeated health and safety violations.”

As Newman previously concluded: “The judge has proposed a new legal doctrine: A dangerous abortion clinic is better than no abortion clinic. We beg to differ. Abortion clinics already have lower standards than other medical facilities. How low can abortion clinic standards be allowed to go and when does patient safety start to matter? If a clinic has unsafe operations that endanger patients and violate the law, then it makes no good sense to keep it open. In fact, it would violate the state’s right to protect the public safety.”