Another Temporary Injunction on Law To End Legal Abortion in Mississippi

What Women Really Think
July 11 2012 9:22 PM

Mississippi Abortion Clinic Gets Another Temporary Reprieve

Mississippi abortion protesters.
Police escort a pro-life demonstrator after arguments escalated with pro-choice demonstrators after Operation Save America announced its mission to close the state's only abortion clinic July 17, 2006 in Jackson, Miss.

Photograph by Marianne Todd/Getty Images.

Lawyers and activists expected a decision today from a federal court about whether or not to kill a new abortion regulation in Mississippi that will shut down the only abortion clinic in the state, but it seems the wait is going to be longer, as U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan instead just extended the temporary injunction preventing the law from being enforced. The regulation requires doctors working at the clinic to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, even though there's no medically necessary reason for such a thing, as abortion is one of the safest outpatient medical procedures around. It was clearly written with the specific doctors at the clinic in mind, who don't have admitting privileges already, mainly because they all live out of state in order to be safe from anti-choice terrorists. The clinic attempted to get the doctors the admitting privileges, but unsurprisingly, the local hospitals are uncooperative under the circumstances.

The entire case has been different than most battles over abortion regulation. Most TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws are passed with the defenders making a big show out of how this isn't about restricting abortion—oh no!—but about protecting women's health. They do this for a couple of reasons. Part of it is to promulgate the myth that abortion clinics are scary, dirty places full of evil people, instead of the boring old doctors offices that they actually are. But it's mainly because they're on legally iffy ground if they're more direct about their intentions. The government's power to regulate medical facilities is justified by their interest in public health and safety, but denying women access to abortion is actually known to degrade public health and safety by encouraging unsafe illegal abortion. That doesn't mean that they can't do it, but it's not surprising that they want to play it safe.

Advertisement

In this case, however, the politicians advocating the law have been blunt that they don't care about women's health so much as ending legal abortion. Rachel Maddow did a report showing how many of the legislators behind this law openly said it was about ending legal abortion, including one state representative who admitted that he was fine if women were killed or injured by illegal abortion because of this law.

When issuing his first injunction against the law, Judge Jordan specifically singled out these statements as a problem, saying, "Plaintiffs have offered evidence—including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers—that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi. They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.” It's unclear if this issue will matter in the long run. People on both sides will have to wait and see.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

Should the United States Grant Asylum to Victims of Domestic Violence?

The Apple Watch Will Make Everyone Around You Just a Little Worse Off

This Was the First Object Ever Designed

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

Moneybox

How the Apple Watch Will Annoy Us

A glowing screen attached to someone else’s wrist is shinier than all but the blingiest jewels.

Music

A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now …

The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.

Is Everyone Going to Declare Independence if Scotland Does It? 

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Trending News Channel
Sept. 12 2014 11:26 AM Identical Twins Aren’t Really Identical
  News & Politics
Jurisprudence
Sept. 14 2014 2:37 PM When Abuse Is Not Abuse Don’t expect Adrian Peterson to go to prison. In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 12 2014 5:54 PM Olive Garden Has Been Committing a Culinary Crime Against Humanity
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 13 2014 8:38 AM “You’re More Than Just a Number” Goucher College goes transcript-free in admissions.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 12 2014 4:05 PM Life as an NFL Wife: “He's the Star. Keep Him Happy.”
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 12 2014 5:55 PM “Do You Know What Porn Is?” Conversations with Dahlia Lithwick’s 11-year-old son.
  Arts
Music
Sept. 14 2014 11:44 PM A Little Bit Softer Now, a Little Bit Softer Now … The sad, gradual decline of the fade-out in popular music.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 12 2014 3:53 PM We Need to Pass Legislation on Artificial Intelligence Early and Often
  Health & Science
New Scientist
Sept. 14 2014 8:38 AM Scientific Misconduct Should Be a Crime It’s as bad as fraud or theft, only potentially more dangerous.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 12 2014 4:36 PM “There’s No Tolerance for That” Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh say they don’t abide domestic abuse. So why do the Seahawks and 49ers have a combined six players accused of violence against women?