BREAKING: The judge in our case is extending the temporary restraining order against the Mississippi law seeking to shut down the state’s last remaining clinic. His reasoning being that the Mississippi Department of Health just this morning promulgated rules interpreting the new law that we challenged, and the judge needs more time to review the new rules (and allow us to do so as well). The battle continues for now, but the law will continue to be blocked temporarily.
Last night, Center for Reproductive Rights President Nancy Northup sat down with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow to talk about our fight to save the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi. Watch it here >,
Rachel rightfully pointed out that, “…the anti-choice movement…may for the first time ever succeed in banning abortion in an American state.”
But Mississippi’s law is not a legal way to skirt Roe v. Wade. In fact, it’s patently unconstitutional—and that’s what the Center is arguing in Federal Court on July 11, 2012.
“The folks who propose, and pass, and sign TRAP laws (Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers)…usually at least try to pretend that something is going on. They try to frame they issue as something to do with safety and protecting vulnerable women who need protecting…But things have changed.
You do not have to hide behind that whole health and safety stuff anymore. You don’t have to pretend that all you care about is safety for women. You can come right out and say that you’re trying to shut down the only abortion clinic in the state by way of targeted over-regulation. “
Plain and simple, the Mississippi law is a backdoor attempt to end abortion in the state. It forces any doctor performing abortions to be a board-certified or eligible OB-GYN with admitting privileges at an area hospital. To date, not a single hospital has granted the clinic’s fully qualified doctors these privileges.
The explicit purpose of this law, made clear by Gov. Phil Bryant, is to stop abortion services in Mississippi. But the Supreme Court has made it clear that laws with the purpose or effect of blocking women’s access to abortion services are unconstitutional. In other words, anti-choice lawmakers can’t do through the back door what they can’t do directly.
The stakes are huge. The Center has poured hundreds of hours into legal research and strategy to make sure Mississippi women aren’t relegated to second class citizens. A victory in Mississippi is vital in order to stop copycat laws in other states.
Without a doubt, anti-choice lawmakers across the country are watching what happens in Mississippi. “If Mississippi is successful in shutting down the clinic, it’s important for Americans to know that there are currently four other states in the same boat,” Rachel said last night. “There are four other states (Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas) where there is only one clinic left.”
But we can stop this now. We are drawing the line. These cases are waking up the pro-choice public. Reproductive rights need to be fundamental rights, and we’ll be fighting in the courts until they are.