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Federal judge declares Mississippi abortion law unconstitutional

[JURIST] US District Judge Tom S. Lee ruled Wednesday that Mississippi's law restricting abortions performed after the first-trimester violates the Fourteenth Amendment. The Jackson Women's Health Organization [factsheet] challenged a July 1, 2004 amendment to Mississippi Code § 41-75-1 [text] that required abortions after the first trimester be performed in a licensed hospital or ambulatory surgical facility. The statute previously mandated that abortions performed after sixteen weeks were required to be performed in the facilities. In 1994, Judge Lee granted a preliminary injunction to the Jackson Women's Health Organization, preventing the state from enforcing the law. Lee held then that the organization established a likelihood of success of a claim that the statute barred it from performing early second-trimester abortions for reasons wholly unrelated to safety or health concerns, and imposed an undue burden on women seeking abortions [Jackson Women's Health Organization Inc. v. Amy, 330 F. Supp. 820 (S.D. Miss. 2004)]. Under Mississippi law, abortion facilities are not eligible to become licensed as ambulatory facilities, and no ambulatory surgical facilities in Mississippi perform abortions. AP has more.

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