Mississippi's only abortion clinic allowed to remain open

Mississippi cannot force women to travel out of state for abortions, a federal appeals judge said.
By Frances Burns  |  July 29, 2014 at 3:53 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, July 29 (UPI) -- A law that would have required Mississippi's only abortion clinic to shut down places an "undue burden" on women who want to end pregnancies, a court said Tuesday.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled in favor of the Jackson Women's Health Organization. The clinic was unable to obtain admitting privileges for its doctor at local hospitals and argued that a new law requiring them is unconstitutional.

"Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state," Judge E. Grady Jolly said, writing for the court majority.

"Such a proposal would not only place an undue burden on the exercise of the constitutional right, but would also disregard a state's obligation under the principle of federalism -- applicable to all fifty states -- to accept the burden of the non-delegable duty of protecting the established federal constitutional rights of its own citizens."

The court did not overturn the law but said the clinic has a good chance of winning its case. It extended an injunction granted by a district court.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which represented the clinic, hailed the decision. A spokeswoman, Nancy Northup, warned it could be a temporary victory.

"But there is still only one clinic in the entire state, and it is still threatened by a law advanced by politicians over the opposition of respected medical associations, with the sole intent of closing that clinic permanently," she said.

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