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July 03, 2012

Judge blocks Mississippi abortion law

Mississippi had hoped to be an abortion-free state, according to Governor Phil Bryant. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch)

JACKSON, Mo. (UPI) -- A federal judge has temporarily blocked Mississippi from closing its only abortion clinic, clinic supporters said.

Lawmakers earlier this year approved a measure, scheduled to to go in effect Monday, requiring that physicians who perform abortions in the state be board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology and have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital, The New York Times reported.

The doctors at the state's only abortion clinic have not been able to secure admitting privileges with an area hospital, which means the clinic would have to close, the newspaper said.

Some lawmakers say they're concerned about the health and safety of women who obtain abortions, but a lawsuit brought by supporters of the clinic said Gov. Phil Bryant has openly said he wants his state to be "abortion-free."

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III issued an injunction Sunday night and scheduled a July 11 hearing.

"Plaintiffs have offered evidence -- including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers -- that the act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi," Jordan wrote. "They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted."

Nancy Northup, president and chief executive of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, said Mississippi lawmakers intend to make "legal abortion virtually disappear in the state of Mississippi."

"Their hostility toward women, reproductive healthcare providers and the rights of both would unquestionably put the lives and health of countless women at risk of grave harm," she said.

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