National Partnership for Women & Families

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Jackson Women's Health Organization and Willie Parker v. Mary Currier and Robert Shuler Smith

Jackson Women's Health Organization and Willie Parker v. Mary Currier and Robert Shuler Smith

Federal court challenge to a Mississippi state law designed to close the state’s only abortion clinic, which requires abortion providers at the clinic to be board certified OB/GYNs and have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The state’s only remaining clinic has been unable to comply. In April 2013, the U.S. District Court granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the law from taking effect while the suit is pending. The state of Mississippi appealed the temporary injunction to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Current Status: A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld the injunction on July 29, 2014, finding that the law impermissibly shifted a constitutional burden onto other states. The state had argued that, though there would be no clinics in Mississippi, women could drive to clinics in other states to obtain the procedure, thus the law does not create not an undue burden on their right to an abortion. The majority rejected that argument, stating that Mississippi cannot rely on neighboring states to protect Mississippians’ constitutional rights. The state has requested review by the full 5th Circuit. (See the law here. See the district court order here. See the 5th Circuit opinion here. Read more about the case here.)