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Federal judge extends block on Mississippi abortion law

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi [official website] on Wednesday extended his prior injunction blocking a controversial Mississippi abortion law [HB 1390 materials] that was scheduled to go into effect July 1. The judge issued the initial temporary injunction [JURIST report] earlier this month. The judge plans to rule on whether to make the injunction permanent [AP report] in the future. The new law requires that all physicians performing abortions at a clinic be a licensed OB-GYN and have privileges to admit patients into a hospital facility. Mississippi's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization [advocacy website], filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] challenging the law last month after they were unable to meet the requirements by the July 1 deadline. Opponents of the law argue that the state is attempting to erect unconstitutional barriers to a woman receiving an abortion. Proponents of the law state that its purpose is merely to protect women's health.

This is the latest development in the ongoing reproductive rights controversy [JURIST backgrounder]. Last week, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt appealed a ruling [JURIST report] by a district court judge that held that an abortion ultrasound bill is unconstitutional. Earlier last month, Louisiana Governor Bob Jindal signed a bill increasing abortion restrictions in the state [JURIST report]. In May, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill allowing pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs [JURIST report] that they "reasonably believe" might result in the termination of a pregnancy. Earlier that month, a judge for the District Court of Oklahoma County ruled [JURIST report] that a law restricting how doctors may use abortion-inducing drugs to treat patients was a violation of the Oklahoma Constitution. In April, the Arizona House of Representatives approved a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks [JURIST report] into a pregnancy, with an exception carved out only for medical emergencies. In March, Utah passed a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours [JURIST report] prior to obtaining the procedure.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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