Judge upholds Mississippi mandate on doctors who do abortion

A federal judge is upholding part of a Mississippi law that says doctors who perform abortions must be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology.

Posted: Mar 17, 2018 11:08 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge is upholding part of a Mississippi law that says doctors who perform abortions must be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology.

The 2012 law also says doctors doing abortions must have hospital admitting privileges. However, U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan blocked Mississippi from enforcing that portion of the law in 2012 after the state's only abortion clinic sued.

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked a Texas admitting-privileges law and declined to consider an appeal from Mississippi. The admitting-privileges portion remains blocked.

The Mississippi clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, asked Jordan to declare the OB-GYN requirement as an unconstitutional burden to abortion access. On Thursday, Jordan declined to do that. The judge said he's not convinced that the clinic can't find board-certified or board-eligible OB-GYNs.

Hillary Schneller is attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the clinic. She said Friday that Mississippi is the only state that has the OB-GYN requirement.

"It will continue, as we argued, to restrict access to abortion in Mississippi," Schneller said.

She said the OB-GYN requirement removes "a huge number of qualified physicians" who have had training in performing abortions and could otherwise possibly do the procedures.

Asked if the clinic will appeal Jordan's ruling, Schneller said: "We are thinking through our next steps."

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who signed the 2012 law, praised the judge's latest ruling.

"In 2016, Mississippi State Department of Health data show that almost 2,600 abortions were performed at the state's only clinic in Jackson. That is heartbreaking," Bryant said Friday on Twitter. "This common-sense, pro-life law will help us make our state the safest place in America for an unborn child."

State attorneys said in defending the OB-GYN requirement that a physician must complete a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology to become board-certified or board-eligible.

Jordan wrote that because of this, he rejects opinions by plaintiffs' experts who testified the OB-GYN requirement provided no benefit to women seeking abortions. He added, though, that the provision in the 2012 law was no stronger than what had existed in a previous law.

Bryant is expected to sign a bill into law on Monday that could set the nation's tightest restriction on abortions. House Bill 1510 would ban most abortions after 15 weeks gestation. Diane Derzis, who owns Jackson Women's Health Organization, has said she will sue to try to block the ban. The state's Democratic attorney general, Jim Hood, said it would be hard to defend the law.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16560

Reported Deaths: 794
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds107426
Madison76728
Lauderdale75968
Neshoba72844
Jones70133
Scott66312
Forrest59539
DeSoto57510
Rankin4569
Leake45212
Holmes44330
Copiah3294
Jackson31415
Attala31118
Yazoo2964
Newton2884
Lincoln28031
Leflore27736
Oktibbeha27314
Harrison2697
Monroe26925
Wayne2623
Lamar2505
Lowndes2479
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20316
Washington1987
Warren19610
Lee1948
Noxubee1936
Covington1792
Bolivar16911
Jasper1674
Clarke15619
Smith15511
Kemper15511
Lafayette1544
Chickasaw14014
Coahoma1314
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1155
Lawrence1071
Grenada1074
Simpson1040
Yalobusha1046
Sunflower923
Tate911
Hancock9012
Union897
Itawamba897
Marshall873
Wilkinson859
Panola843
Montgomery841
Webster844
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun674
Amite661
Walthall640
Humphreys637
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Perry513
Choctaw502
Pontotoc473
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Greene331
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie301
George292
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 18766

Reported Deaths: 651
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2321118
Jefferson1901104
Montgomery185843
Tuscaloosa83616
Marshall7089
Franklin5858
Lee56234
Shelby52819
Tallapoosa43466
Butler42118
Walker3862
Elmore3749
Chambers36026
Madison3534
Unassigned3062
Morgan3021
Baldwin2939
Dallas2923
Lowndes26512
Etowah26312
DeKalb2573
Autauga2415
Coffee2391
Sumter2287
Houston2265
Bullock2176
Pike2120
Colbert1902
Hale1859
Russell1810
Barbour1771
Marengo1756
Lauderdale1722
Calhoun1673
Wilcox1577
Choctaw15310
Cullman1521
Clarke1492
St. Clair1351
Randolph1287
Dale1240
Marion12411
Pickens1205
Talladega1195
Limestone1080
Chilton1071
Greene954
Macon934
Winston910
Jackson833
Covington821
Henry822
Crenshaw783
Bibb761
Escambia753
Washington736
Blount631
Lawrence510
Monroe462
Geneva440
Perry430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
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