Mississippi abortion clinic stays open; Indiana abortion law overturned
Published: July 17, 2012
JACKSON, Miss. (CNS) -- A federal judge allowed Mississippi's only abortion clinic to remain open while it continued to work toward compliance with a new state law permitting only certain doctors to perform abortions there. District Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan III of Jackson partially lifted the injunction on a law that had been scheduled to take effect July 1 but continued to block sections of the law imposing civil or criminal penalties on violators. The law requires that abortions be performed only by obstetricians-gynecologists with privileges to admit patients to local hospitals. Currently neither of the out-of-state doctors who perform abortions at the Jackson Women's Health Organization have such privileges. "The act will be allowed to take effect, but plaintiffs will not be subject to the risk of criminal or civil penalties at this time or in the future for operating without the relevant privileges," said Jordan in his July 13 decision. "Given the highly charged political context of this case and the ambiguity still present, the court finds that there would be a chilling effect on the plaintiffs' willingness to continue operating the clinic until they obtained the necessary privileges," he added. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said the state would "continue to defend this important measure as the legal process moves forward." Closure of the Jackson clinic would bring an end to abortions performed in Mississippi; about 2,000 abortions take place there each year. A spokeswoman for Bishop Joseph N. Latino of Jackson said the bishop has taken no public stance on the bill or the lawsuit.
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