A Mississippi law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals would effectively shut down the state's only abortion clinic and pose an unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions, an attorney told a federal appeals court Monday.
Julie Rikelman argued on behalf of Jackson Women's Health Organization, which says it has been unable to obtain such privileges for the doctors at its clinic. US district Judge Daniel P Jordan III let the law take effect in July 2012, after the clinic sued the state. But Jordan blocked the state from closing the clinic while it tried to comply.
In March, a three-judge panel of the fifth circuit court of appeals upheld a similar Texas law that requires admitting privileges.
However, during Monday's arguments, members of a different three-judge fifth circuit panel noted that the law in Mississippi could force women seeking abortions to travel to other states. The panel gave no indication when or how it would rule but did raise the possibility that the Mississippi law posed what they called an "undue burden" on women in the state.