Court blocks law that would close Mississippi’s only abortion clinic

Photo: Getty Images

JACKSON, Miss. — A federal court on Friday permanently blocked Mississippi’s law that threatened to close the state’s only abortion clinic by setting a hospital-privileges requirement the clinic couldn’t fulfill.

The ruling comes eight months after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a similar law in Texas. In a statement, Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup called the ruling the latest victory for women’s health and rights.

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

An emailed request for comment from Republican Gov. Phil Bryant’s office was not immediately returned.

Bryant has said the law he signed in 2012 was designed to help women.

Mississippi was one of several states with laws saying physicians who work at an abortion clinic must obtain privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Mississippi’s law never fully took effect because of a protracted court battle.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization sued the state before the law was to take effect in July 2012, saying the requirement could block access to a constitutionally protected medical procedure.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III let the law take effect but prevented the state from closing the clinic while physicians sought hospital privileges. The state sought to overturn Jordan’s decision, and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in 2014 that the law could cut off abortion access in Mississippi.