Target: Judge E. Grady Jolly of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
Goal: Applaud the court for overruling an anti-abortion law responsible for the closure of numerous women’s health clinics in the state of Mississippi
Women in Mississippi continue to have access to safe and legal abortions in their home state, thanks to a recent ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling represents a rare win for women’s health in a state that has seen the closure of dozens of clinics. In fact, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization was the last remaining provider of legal abortions in Mississippi; it too faced potential closure because of an anti-abortion law. Judges overruled the law on the grounds that it placed an “undue burden” on women seeking the procedure.
Prior to being overruled, the law required all clinics offering abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges. Hospitals can and do arbitrarily ignore and deny these requests. Similar laws remain on the books in ten other states, writes Common Dreams, leaving women fewer and fewer options should they struggle with the difficult decision to terminate a pregnancy. Advocates of these laws have argued that women can simply travel out of state to obtain the procedure but Judge E. Grady Jolly, writing for the majority opinion, said “Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state.”
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, acknowledged the fact that the battle over access to abortions is far from over. “The promise of the U.S. Constitution is one that ensures all of our rights are protected no matter where we happen to live,” she said in an interview with Common Dreams. “We will continue this fight to ensure the fundamental rights established by the U.S. Supreme Court more than 40 years ago remain a reality for women in Mississippi and across the country.”
Praise the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for upholding the right of women in Mississippi to access safe, legal abortions in the state where they reside.
Dear Judge Jolly,
I am writing to applaud the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for its recent decision to overrule an anti-abortion law effectively denying women in Mississippi the right to access abortions in their home state. Similar laws can be found in numerous other states, and have led to the closure of women’s health clinics across the country.
While at first it may seem reasonable to require clinics to obtain hospital admitting privileges, in reality the requirement has allowed doctors and hospitals to exercise their bias by arbitrarily denying or ignoring such requests. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization repeatedly sought admitting privileges, and was denied each and every time despite operating for decades.
Even the American Medical Association has opposed this onerous requirement. In no small part because of your insight, women in Mississippi can still access safe abortions in their state. Thank you for standing up for women’s reproductive health and human rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ambernectar 13 via Flickr