Judge Temporarily Blocks Mississippi Anti-Abortion Law

Law would close state's last abortion clinic
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2012 2:13 AM CDT
Updated Jul 2, 2012 3:02 AM CDT
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signs House Bill 1390 earlier this year while supporters look on at the state Capitol in Jackson. Bryant says he wants the state to be "abortion free."   (AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, Greg Jenson)
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(Newser) – A Mississippi law that could shut down the only abortion clinic in the state has been blocked by a federal judge, at least temporarily, reports the AP. State House Bill 1390 requires anyone who performs abortions at the clinic to be an obstetrician-gynecologist with local hospital privileges. But as those privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the two doctors who perform abortions at the Jackson clinic come from out of state, the law would in effect stop abortions in the state entirely. In fact, when Gov. Phil Bryant signed the law, he said he wanted Mississippi to be "abortion-free."

"Though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the court must follow," wrote the judge in his decision. "Plaintiffs have offered evidence—including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers—that the Act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi." The judge set a hearing for July 11 to decide whether the law's suspension would be extended. If the clinic does close, most women seeking an abortion would have to travel out of state, and the AP notes that from the capital, it's about 200 miles to clinics in New Orleans; Mobile, Alabama; and Memphis.

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