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Mississippi court will hear challenge to state's abortion trigger law

Mississippi court will hear challenge to state's abortion trigger law
Image of the U.S. Supreme Court building on June 17, 2021. A Mississippi court on Tuesday will hear abortion proponents argue that the state Supreme Court decision supports a woman's right to an abortion regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last month. File Photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI | License Photo

July 5 (UPI) -- A county court in Mississippi will hear arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit challenging the state's trigger law set to take effect Thursday, banning most abortions in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last month overturning Roe vs. Wade.

The Mississippi legislature passed the trigger law in 2007, allowing a nearly complete ban on abortion to take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned the 1973 decision in Roe vs. Wade, guaranteeing women a Constitutional right to the procedure.

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Attorneys from the Jackson Women's Health Organization will argue Tuesday in Hinds County Chancery Court that the 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court decision in Pro-Choice Mississippi vs. Fordice protects abortions in the state.

"Although the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overruled the court's decision in Roe v. Wade -- taking away federal constitutional protections for abortion -- rights under the Mississippi Constitution are independent of those under the U.S. Constitution," the lawsuit said, according to the Mississippi Free Press.

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"The decision in Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice is binding precedent that prevents the State of Mississippi from outlawing abortion regardless of the current status of federal law."

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Just hearing the case has already proved contentious. Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph appointed Franklin County Chancellor Debbra Halford to hear the case after all four of Hinds County's chancery judges recused themselves from ruling on it.

If the court rules in the state's favor, the anti-abortion trigger law would go into effect on Thursday.

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Mississippi has been at the center of the abortion debate in the United States. Attorney General Lynn Fitch's office argued successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization that Roe vs. Wade should be overturned.

RELATED N.Y. AG to Google: Stop directing people seeking abortions to anti-abortion centers

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