Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which closed Wednesday, is seeking emergency relief from the MSSC.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization is appealing the decision made earlier this week that denied its case challenging the Mississippi trigger law. That law made abortion illegal in Mississippi as of today except in the case of a formal charge of rape or to preserve the mother’s life that went into effect today.
JWHO, which has operated the state’s only abortion clinic until it closed its doors on Wednesday, is asking the Mississippi Supreme Court for emergency relief to allow JWHO to “resume abortion services as soon as possible”.
Rob McDuff, attorney for JWHO, issued the following statement:
“Earlier this week, a chancery court judge denied our request to block the state’s Trigger Ban, and it took effect today, outlawing all abortions in Mississippi except in rare circumstances. While the clinic has been forced to stop scheduling patients and providing abortions, we are asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to block that ban and the related Six-Week Ban and let the clinic reopen as soon as possible. We are doing all we can to allow the clinic to keep serving patients. We hope the Mississippi Supreme Court will abide by its prior ruling that the Mississippi Constitution protects the rights of women to make their own decisions in matters of childbirth. But unfortunately, we live in a time when settled rules of law are being cast aside. We hope that doesn’t happen here.”
This appeal by JWHO again uses as its justification for the lawsuit the 1998 case known as Pro-choice Mississippi v. Fordice, a reference Judge Debbra Halford rejected on Tuesday. She wrote at the time:
“The Mississippi constitutional protection for abortion is based on judicial interpretation by the Fordice Court of Section 32 of the Mississippi Constitution which fails to mention abortion, in significant reliance on Roe and Casey, neither of which remain good law. This Court cannot find that enjoining enforcement of two properly enacted statutes in deference to a case whose constitutionality has come into sucha strong challenge is consistent with the public interest. Having so considered the pleadings, argument and relevant law, the Court declines to issue any preliminary injuctive relief in this case.”
Governor Tate Reeves marked the day – the first with abortion being legal in the state – by tweeting, “Today we wake up in a state where the church doors are open and the abortion clinic’s doors are closed. All the Glory to God the Father! Amen!”
Today we wake up in a state where the church doors are open and the abortion clinic’s doors are closed.
All the Glory to God the Father!
Amen! 🙏 🙏
— Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) July 7, 2022
Attorney General Lynn Fitch, who has led the state’s case against Roe both in state and at the U.S. Supreme Court, said in a statement the will of the people as expressed by their elected representatives had been done.
Today, I released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/kFiR3cw1m8
— Lynn Fitch (@LynnFitchAG) July 7, 2022
The panel of Justices Kitchens, Beam and Griffis at the Mississippi Supreme Court have set July 25th as the date for the State to respond to the appeal.
An immediate hearing or relief from the Court does not appear imminent.
You read the appeal in full below.