[JURIST] Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood [official website] asked [cert. petition, PDF] the US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday to allow the state to enforce an abortion law [HB 1390 text, PDF] that was declared unconstitutional by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] in 2014. The law requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at state hospitals, but the appellate court overturned the law because it would effectively close all abortion clinics and impose an undue burden on women attempting to get abortions. The Fifth Circuit decision kept Mississippi from shutting down the last abortion clinic in the state, the Jackson’s Women Heath Organization (JWHO) [website]. However, the Fifth Circuit allowed [JURIST report] a similar Texas law to go into effect last year, and Mississippi argues the inconsistency within the Fifth Circuit is one reason the Supreme Court should hear the case.
Reproductive rights [JURIST backgrounder] remain a controversial issue throughout the US. Last month a federal appeals court heard arguments [JURIST report] on Texas abortion laws. Also last month the US House of Representatives passed a bill [JURIST report] that would ban abortions financed by federal funds. In December the US Supreme Court declined to review [JURIST report] an injunction on Arizona abortion laws viewed as some of the strictest in the country. In October an Oklahoma judge allowed [JURIST report] a law banning abortion pills to take effect. In August a Louisiana abortion clinic challenged [JURIST report] a new state law that requires doctors to have hospital admitting privileges, which would likely force clinics to shut down. In March West Virginia’s governor vetoed a bill [JURIST report] that would have banned abortions later than 20 weeks after conception.