In November, voters in Mississippi soundly rejected a “personhood” amendment to the State Constitution that would have outlawed all abortions and the most widely used forms of contraception by defining life as beginning at the moment of fertilization. Undeterred, state lawmakers came up with another unconstitutional scheme to eliminate abortions by requiring doctors performing the procedure to be obstetrician-gynecologists who have privileges to admit patients to a hospital.
The requirement is cast as a safety rule, but serious complications from legal abortions are exceedingly rare and area hospitals are already prepared to accept transfers by ambulance in emergencies. The measure’s supporters, including Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, make no secret of its true improper purpose, which is to effectively end all abortions in the state. Judge Jordan cited this evidence in issuing his ruling.
Forcing women in Mississippi who want abortions to travel long distances to out-of-state clinics will impose heavy costs and could create serious health risks caused by delays. The fight will resume on July 11, when the judge has scheduled a hearing on the matter. He should extend the temporary injunction and then rule to permanently block the campaign to deny women in Mississippi reproductive freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
New York Times