JACKSON, Miss., Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reconsider the constitutionality of a law that would shutter Mississippi's last abortion clinic, blocking the law from taking affect.
A three-judge panel from the 5th Circuit ruled 2-1 against the 2012 law in July, agreeing with the Jackson Women's Health Organization that the law placed an "undue burden" on women attempting to get an abortion. Attorney General Jim Hood had filed papers on behalf of the state asking the full federal court to lift the injunction.
JWHO remains the only operating abortion clinic in the state, and uses out-of-state physicians who travel there several times a month. The law requires physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, but when the out-of-state physicians applied at Jackson-area hospitals, they were ignored.
Ten states have similar laws, which supporters say protect women's health by ensuring that a treating physician could care for the patient in a hospital in case of complications.
But opponents say such privileges are unnecessary, as a patients in distress would be treated in an emergency room.
"For now, the sole clinic providing safe, legal abortion care can keep its doors open for the women of Mississippi," said Nancy Northrup, the president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the JWHO.
"Earlier decisions in this case have rightly recognized the very real and severe harm that would befall countless women in Mississippi if the state's only abortion clinic were shuttered," she said. "We are confident the federal district court will once again see through the sham justifications for this underhanded clinic shutdown law and ultimately strike it down permanently as a gross violation of women's constitutional rights."