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Appeals court lets ruling against abortion safety law stand

Jackson Women’s Health Organization in Jackson, Miss. Associated Press/Photo by Rogelio V. Solis

Appeals court lets ruling against abortion safety law stand

A federal appeals court said Thursday it would not reverse its earlier decision to block a Mississippi law that requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital. The 2012 law could have shut down Mississippi’s only abortion facility, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, when two of the abortionists at the facility were unable to obtain privileges.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 29 that the law violated a constitutionally guaranteed right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade. Though attorneys for the state argued that women could travel to other states for abortions, the court said that Mississippi could not shift its abortion access obligation to other states.

Following the decision, the attorney general’s office requested that a full panel of 15 judges reconsider the case. The panel released its refusal Thursday with no explanation.

The attorney general’s office couldn’t confirm whether it would seek a Supreme Court ruling. “We are in the process of reviewing the order and considering our options,” a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said she hoped the federal district court would permanently strike down “this underhanded clinic shutdown law.”

But more than shutting down abortion centers, pro-life advocates in Mississippi like Operation Rescue and Gov. Phil Bryant said the law was intended to protect women’s health by raising facility standards.

“Pregnant women are currently being treated as second-class citizens and are being denied the same high standard of care that everyone else expects,” Operation Rescue President Troy Newman told following the July decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Courtney Crandell Courtney is a former WORLD correspondent.

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