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Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to Review Ruling Blocking Abortion Law

Mississippi is among several states that have passed laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. Some of the measures are under court review.
Mississippi is among several states that have passed laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. Some of the measures are under court review. (Nogwater/Flickr)

Mississippi asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to review a lower court decision blocking a law that would shut the state's sole abortion clinic. 

Mississippi is among several states that have passed laws requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. Some of the measures are under court review. 

A federal district court judge issued a temporary injunction in 2012 blocking the Mississippi law because it would have forced women seeking abortions to go out of state. The same judge issued a second injunction in 2013, which was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last November. 

The Mississippi Attorney General's Office argued in its filing that the U.S. Supreme Court should weigh in on whether closing Mississippi's sole abortion clinic places an undue burden on women seeking the procedure when it is available in adjoining states. 

A spokeswoman for Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, declined to comment on the petition. 

Abortion rights advocates urged the high court not to take the case. 

"The Court should decline to review the sound determination that Mississippi women would be irreparably harmed if the state were allowed to close its last clinic," said Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights. 

Abortion rights supporters say the law in Mississippi and similar ones elsewhere impose medically unnecessary requirements targeting providers of the procedure. 

Anti-abortion advocates have countered they are intended to protect women's health, although some have also said they would likely shutter clinics. 

If the high court does not review the case, abortion rights advocates expect it to move forward at the trial court later this year.

© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.

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