Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic Can Stay Open, For Now

Photo by Kate Sheppard.

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A judge in Mississippi has ruled that Jackson Women’s Health Organization can stay open, for now.

A state law passed in April 2012 threatened to shut down the state’s last abortion clinic, which we recently profiled. But on Monday, US District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III granted a preliminary injunction blocking that law from taking effect, which means that the state cannot revoke the clinic’s license to operate.

The new state law requires doctors who perform abortions at the clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Given the politics on abortion in Mississippi, all of the local hospitals rejected the applications of the two doctors who work at the clinic, so the state Department of Health had begun the process of revoking the clinic’s license for non-compliance. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the clinic, asked the judge to prevent the law from taking effect, as it was impossible for JWHO to comply.

In a statement Monday evening, Nancy Northup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, noted that this is just the first step in the legal battle over this law. “While the women of Mississippi may be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief today, this fight is far from over,” she said. “We will continue our work to see this underhanded attempt to ban abortions in Mississippi struck down as a violation of women’s constitutional reproductive rights.”

Read the judge’s decision here.

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