Appeals Courts blocks Pro-Life law; allows substandard abortion center to remain open

The federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled against women, preborn babies, and Pro-Life advocates in Mississippi.

In a 2-1 split decision by the all-male panel, the Fifth Circuit struck down the Mississippi law that requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.  After being signed into law by Pro-Life Governor Phil Bryant, all Jackson-area hospitals denied privileges to the last-remaining abortion center in the state.

The court has given Jackson Women's Health Organization a pass to continue operating at a lower medical standard of care.

Judges E. Grady Jolly of Mississippi and Stephan A. Higginson of Louisiana claimed the law placed an undue burden on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion within the borders of her state.

This decision has some Pro-Life Texans concerned as the state prepares to continue defending portions of the massive Pro-Life omnibus bill, HB 2, which was passed and signed into law last summer. Now, abortion activists are challenging the Ambulatory Surgical Center requirements in the Texas bill, as well as furthering a previous challenge against the admitting privileges provision.

Judge Emilio M. Garza of Texas, the one dissenting justice on the panel,agreed with the state’s argument that women are still able to obtain abortions in nearby, bordering states:

“Because the undue burden test requires an assessment of the difficulty of obtaining abortion services, whether in a woman's own state or a neighboring state, and because neither the district court nor the majority has undertaken this assessment, I respectfully dissent,” Garza wrote.

In March, an all-female panel of the 5th Circuit upheld Texas’ admitting privileges requirement, but now the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights – the same abortion activists who challenged Mississippi’s law – are taking the law back to federal court in an ‘as-applied’ challenge.

On Monday, August 4th, Texas Right to Life will be present at a US District Court’s trial of Texas’ ASC policy and the renewed fight against Texas’ admitting privileges.

Stay tuned to, as well as Texas Right to Life’s Facebook and Twitter feeds for up-to-date on these lawsuits against important Pro-Life legislation.