U.S. appeals court blocks Mississippi abortion law
Mississippi’s governor and attorney general will have to decide whether to challenge a federal appeals court rul- ing that is keeping the state’s only abortion clinic in business.
A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 last Tuesday to block a 2012 Mississippi law that requires abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
When Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law, he said he hoped it would end abortion in the state. In defending the law, state attorneys said women with unwanted pregnancies could always travel to other states. But the appellate judges ruled that every state must guarantee constitutional rights, including abortion.
“This measure is designed to protect the health and safety of women who undergo this potentially dangerous procedure, and physicians who provide abortions should be held to the same standards as physicians who perform other outpatient procedures,” Bryant said.
Ten states have adopted similar laws, forcing a growing number of clinics to close. The ruling from the conservative 5th Circuit was narrowly crafted to address the situation in Mississippi, but it could have implications for other states with similar laws and dwindling access to abortion, such as Wisconsin and Alabama.