A Mississippi court has rejected a request from the state’s last abortion clinic to prevent a trigger law from taking effect, handing women rights a defeat and forcing the health center to shut down by the end of Wednesday.
The ruling by Special Chancellor Debbra Halford on Tuesday means that Jackson Women’s Health Organization will no longer be able to perform abortions after Wednesday, as the ban will take effect Thursday.
Halford also struck down a separate request that she ensure the state’s six-week abortion ban not be enforced.
The ruling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court stuck down its landmark decision in Roe vs. Wade, which federally protected a woman’s right to have an abortion — a decision that “triggered” Mississippi’s ban, which was passed in 2007, to take effect.
Mississippi is one of 13 states to have passed trigger laws to completely ban abortion should the Supreme Court do away with Roe vs. Wade.
Days after the high court’s decision, Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch published a determination that said the ban would go into effect in 10 days. The Mississippi Center for Justice then filed a lawsuit, arguing that the ban violates the Mississippi constitution and a 1998 ruling by the state’s Supreme Court that protects abortion.
However, Halford wrote that the state’s constitution makes no mention of abortion and the state Supreme Court is unlikely uphold the 1998 ruling in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision.
Halford also said that the Mississippi Center for Justice failed to show that the harms incurred by its client due to the law going into effect are worse than those to the state and public if the ban is not put in place.
“Any injunction against a state’s duly enacted laws necessarily irreparably harms that state by denying the public interest in the enforcement of its laws,” she said.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, a Republican, cheered the court’s decision in a statement, saying the ban will “save the lives of thousands of unborn Mississippi children.”
“It is a great victory for life,” he said. “Every life has inherent dignity and Mississippi will continue to do everything it can to advance the fight for life.”
Meanwhile, the Mississippi Center for Justice said it will continue to fight against the ban.
“We are disappointed with this failure to enforce the Mississippi Constitution,” it said in a statement. “We have an uphill battle ahead to secure and protect reproductive rights for the long haul.”
“But we won’t stop fighting.”
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