Federal judge extends block on Mississippi abortion law

[JURIST] 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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