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A federal court in Mississippi permanently blocked a state law on Tuesday that was meant to force the closure of the state’s last abortion clinic in Jackson.

The law, signed by Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant in 2012, would’ve imposed prohibitive admitting privileges regulations that would’ve made it impossible for the state’s last abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, to continue to operate.

A nearly identical law in Texas was struck down 8 months ago by the United States Supreme Court in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.

Mississippi continued to defend its law, until finally admitting in court recently that the state could not “any meaningful distinctions” between the Texas admitting privileges law that was struck down in Hellerstedt and the Mississippi one.

Had the law not been blocked, Mississippi would have been the only state in the country that enforced such strict requirements.

In the months following the passage of a 2012 law designed to shut down Mississippi’s last abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization fought back, draping its front gate with a sign that read “THIS CLINIC STAYS OPEN” and painting itself a bright shade of pink – a color not entirely out of character for the artsy Fondren neighborhood where it resides. Photo by Ashton Pittman.

President of the Center for Reproductive Rights Sally Northrup said in a press release that the organization would continue to fight the law and others like it:

“Today’s ruling is the latest victory for women’s health and rights – and it will not be the last,” Northrup said. “Our landmark win at the Supreme Court last summer continues to reverberate across the nation. Any politician trying to roll back women’s constitutional rights should take notice and remember the law is on our side.”

Previously, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the law in 2014, and the United States Supreme Court refused to review the decision in 2016.

Click here to explore our 2013 photo essay on the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, documenting the daily lives of clinic workers, volunteers, protesters, and local law enforcement in the uncertain early days of the law’s passage.


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