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7/31/2014 10:33:00 AM
Court overturns law requiring hospital privileges for abortion doctors
Catholic News Service

NEW ORLEANS — A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans July 29 overturned a 2012 Mississippi law requiring doctors at the state's only abortion clinic to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

There is only one abortion clinic in Mississippi, the Jackson Women's Health Organization, which challenged the law, which the 2-1 ruling declared unconstitutional.

Writing for the majority, Judge E. Grady Jolly stated: "Mississippi may not shift its obligation to respect the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state," a reference to the fact many women had to go out of state to obtain an abortion.

The state law put an "an undue burden on the exercise of the constitutional right" as provided by the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion virtually on demand across the country.

Jolly said the law went against "a state's obligation under the principle of federalism -- applicable to all 50 states -- to accept the burden of the non-delegable duty of protecting the established federal constitutional rights of its own citizens."

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement that he was disappointed with the ruling and would seek to have the case heard by the full 5th Circuit.

Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, criticized the court ruling for striking down "a law enacted to safeguard the health of Mississippi women" and said that to the courts "access to abortion is more important than any other consideration, including women's safety."

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