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U.S. Appeals Court Strikes Down Law That Would Close Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic

A three-person panel of judges ruled the law unconstitutional.

Posted on July 29, 2014, at 4:26 p.m. ET

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant speaks to reporters at a County Fair
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant speaks to reporters at a County Fair

On Tuesday afternoon a federal appeals court ruled that a law to close Mississippi's only abortion clinic is unconstitutional.

A three-person panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judged 2-1 on the 2012 state law, the Associated Press reports. The law would have required physicians at the Jackson Women's Health Organization to obtain admitting privileges at a nearby hospital — a nearly impossible feat, according to the clinic.

"We applied to every hospital — eight to 10 of them," Diane Derzis, the owner of the clinic said during a hearing in April. "The Catholic hospital turned us down immediately. The rest took a while, but turned us down without looking at the physicians. They put in writing that they were unable to handle the public press from this; they were upfront about it. It's clear the politics prevailed with this whole thing."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has said before that he wants to "make Mississippi abortion-free."

In court, attorneys for Mississippi argued that if the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic were to shut down, women could simply travel to other states for abortions.

The two judges did not deem that solution adequate.

"Pre-viability, a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion. H.B. 1390 effectively extinguishes that right within Mississippi's borders," wrote judges E. Grady Jolly of Mississippi and Stephan Higginson of Louisiana.

Read the decision here:

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