The last abortion clinic in Mississippi, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, has been given a reprieve. Jackson Women’s Health was scheduled to close, making Mississippi the first state without an abortion clinic since the Roe v. Wade decision. However, Judge Daniel P. Jordan III blocked the state from closing the clinic until the law that would bar Jackson Women’s Health from performing abortions is ruled constitutional.
Judge Jordan issued the temporary injunction as Jackson Women’s Health and the state of Mississippi continue arguing the law’s constitutionality in another federal court. The law in question was passed in 2012 and requires doctors at abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at local-area hospitals. No hospital within 30 miles would issue admitting privileges to the Jackson Women’s Health doctors. Without this compliance, the clinic is subject to closure. Alabama has also passed similar legislation.
According to the New York Times, legislators pushing for the bill insisted this requirement advocates for the health of women seeking abortions. However, it also binds Jackson Women’s Health from performing abortions, leaving many women of color and impoverished women without a solution.
Judge Jordan has stepped in. He wrote in his opinion:
“Closing its doors would […] force Mississippi women to leave Mississippi to obtain a legal abortion… [This] would result in a patchwork system where constitutional rights are available in some state but not others.”
However the injunction is temporary and could be removed once the court case is decided.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization has been Mississippi’s only abortion provider since 2002.