U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III has temporarily blocked a measure that would have forced Mississippi’s only abortion clinic to close its doors.
The TRAP law, H.B. 1390, had been passed earlier this year. The law had been challenged by a consortium of women’s rights groups, who argue that the law was written to force Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion provider, out of business.
“Plaintiffs have offered evidence — including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers — that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi,” Jordan wrote in his ruling. “They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.”
Indeed, Rep. Sam Mims V, R-McComb, who had sponsored the legislation, has already contacted the state board of health asking them to quickly check the JWHO for compliance with the law, in the hopes that the clinic will be shut down.
“Today’s decision reaffirms the fundamental constitutional rights of women in Mississippi,” said Nancy Northrup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights in a statement. “The opponents of reproductive rights in the Mississippi legislature have made no secret of their intent to make legal abortion virtually disappear in the state of Mississippi. Their hostility toward women, reproductive health care providers, and the rights of both would unquestionably put the lives and health of countless women at risk of grave harm.”
In an interview with CNN, Mims said that abortion opponents “will speak with our attorneys regarding our game plan.”
Jordan has scheduled a July 11 hearing on whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the law. The temporary restraining order will keep the clinic open at least through that date.
Image Credit: Dave Faryam