Women in in Mississippi can breathe easy, at least temporarily: at the eleventh hour on Sunday night, a federal judge blocked a law that would have effectively closed the state’s only abortion clinic. A law was set to go into effect on Monday that would have required doctors at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. However, that was not going to happen as all four of the clinic’s OB-GYNs live out of state, in part because they, their families and neighbors are horrendously harassed by anti-abortion extremists. Only one of the practicing OB-GYNs has admitting privileges at the local hospital; the others have not been granted them yet. Had the law gone into effect today, women’s access to safe and legal abortions would have been even more impeded as they would have been required to drive out of state, which requires time and money.
Legislators who supported the law claimed that doctors needed admitting privileges for safety reasons, although there is little to no evidence to suggest this was actually necessary. The ruling by Judge Daniel Jordan put a temporary injunction on the bill and noted that legislators who supported the bill have also made public statements about their intention to ban abortion from the state. As we all know, restricting women’s access to abortion is the tactic that legislators use when they can’t succeed in outright banning abortion.
I am glad that Judge Jordan was able to see through this BS and see the bill for what it was: a way to control women’s reproductive choices and force families to have children they do not want. We’ll be watching how this plays out.