Appeals Court Strikes Down Mississippi Law

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Jackson, Miss.
A federal appeals court panel has ruled 2-1 that a Mississippi law that would close the state's only abortion clinic is unconstitutional.

The three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued its ruling Tuesday in a case involving the state's 2012 law, which required physicians at the clinic to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Physicians at Jackson Women's Health Organization applied for the privileges at Jackson-area hospitals but were unable to obtain them.

Attorneys for Mississippi argued that if the clinic closed, women could get abortions in other states.

The appeals court panel ruled that a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1973 established a constitutional right to abortion.

The panel ruled that Mississippi may not shift its obligation for established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state.

Gov. Bryant commented on the ruling.

“This measure is designed to protect the health and safety of women who undergo this potentially dangerous procedure, and physicians who provide abortions should be held to the same standards as physicians who perform other outpatient procedures."

Bryant pointed out that the opinion issued was from a panel and not the full court.

A spokeswoman for Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, whose office represented the state in the case, said the office is reviewing the ruling and considering its options.