By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS, ANTHONY IZAGUIRRE and KEVIN MCGILL – Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — As lawyers argued over abortion laws across the South Tuesday, a Mississippi judge rejected a request by the state’s only abortion clinic to temporarily block a law that would ban most abortions. .
With no other developments in the Mississippi lawsuit, the clinic will close at the end of the business day on Wednesday and the state law will go into effect on Thursday.
One of the clinic’s attorneys, Hillary Schneller of the Center for Reproductive Rights, said the judge should have blocked the law.
“People in Mississippi who need abortions right now are in a panic, trying to get into the clinic before it’s too late,” Schneller said. “No one should be forced to live with that fear.”
Mississippi lawmakers recently passed the “trigger” law before the US Supreme Court. tipped over the ruling Roe v. Wade in 1973 that legalized abortion throughout the country. The clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, sought a temporary restraining order that would have allowed it to remain open while the lawsuit played out in court.
People are also reading…
“This law has the potential to save the lives of thousands of Mississippi’s unborn children,” Republican Gov. Tate Reeves said after the judge’s ruling. “It is a great victory for life. I also think it’s critical that we show every mother and child that they are loved and that their communities will support them.”
The closely watched lawsuit was part of a flurry of activity across the country since the Supreme Court ruled. conservative states have moved to stop or limit abortions while others have tried to guarantee the right to abortion, all as some women try to get medical procedure against the changing legal landscape.
In other parts of the south, New 15-week abortion ban in Florida it was blocked, but then quickly reinstated Tuesday after an appeal from the state attorney general in a lawsuit challenging the restriction. Judge John C. Cooper issued the order to temporarily suspend the law after reproductive health providers argued that the state constitution guarantees a right to the procedure. The state quickly appealed his order, automatically reinstating the law.
Florida law makes exceptions if the procedure is necessary to save the pregnant woman’s life, prevent serious injury, or if the fetus has a fatal abnormality. It does not allow exemptions for pregnancies caused by rape, incest, or human trafficking.
The law, which took effect Friday, was approved by the GOP-controlled Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this spring.
In Louisiana, the state attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to allow enforcement of a ban on most abortions. Louisiana’s anti-abortion statutes include so-called triggers that were designed to take effect instantly if the US Supreme Court overturned abortion rights. But a state judge in New Orleans last week blocked law enforcement pending a court hearing on a lawsuit brought by a northern Louisiana abortion clinic and others.
The Louisiana lawsuit says the law is unclear about when the ban goes into effect and about medical exceptions. The attorney general’s request to the Supreme Court, filed over the bank holiday weekend and announced on Tuesday, says the order blocking the execution must be dissolved.
Attorneys for the northern Louisiana clinic argued in a report Tuesday afternoon that it is premature for the superior court to take the case to the district judge and for an appeals court to have had a chance to consider the issues further. .
Mississippi was one of several states with a trigger law contingent on the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. The law was passed in 2007 and has never been challenged in court. It says abortion will be legal only if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger or if the pregnancy is caused by rape reported to the police. You have no exception for pregnancies caused by incest.
The clinic’s lawsuit cited a 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court ruling that said the state constitution invokes a right to privacy that “includes the implied right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.”
The state attorney general’s office argued that the 1998 ruling was based on US Supreme Court decisions in 1973 and 1992 that established or protected the right to abortion, but were overturned on June 24. But Rob McDuff, an attorney with the Mississippi Justice Center who represents the clinic, argued that state judges never said his decision was based on the federal Constitution.
“They never said it would evaporate if Roe ever got overturned,” McDuff said in court Tuesday.
The state attorney general’s office said the Mississippi Constitution does not recognize the right to an abortion and that the state has a long history of restricting the procedure.
“In the last two weeks, the state of the law has changed dramatically,” state Attorney General Scott Stewart argued in court Tuesday.
The suit was filed three days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a case that originated in Mississippi. The clinic had continued to see patients, but owner Diane Derzis said it will close if the near-ban on abortions goes into effect.
Rejecting the clinic’s request hours after the hearing, Halford wrote: “The plain wording of the Mississippi Constitution makes no mention of abortion.” He added that it is “more than doubtful” that the Mississippi Supreme Court will continue to uphold its 1998 ruling now that the US Supreme Court has overturned its own previous rulings on abortion.
McDuff told The Associated Press that the clinic’s attorneys will review Halford’s decision and consider whether to appeal it to the state Supreme Court.
Outside the courthouse in Mississippi’s capital city, several women held signs supporting abortion rights as two men took turns using a microphone to tell abortion rights advocates that God would punish them for eternity.
You are thirsty for blood. Abominable and bloodthirsty filth in the eyes of God,” said one of the anti-abortion protesters, Allen Siders. “Consider your ways today, sinners. Consider your ways today.
An abortion rights supporter performed an impromptu dance in front of Siders to taunt him and several women laughed.
Anthony Izaguirre reported from Tallahassee, Florida, and Kevin McGill reported from New Orleans.
Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.