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Tipsheet

Jackson Women’s Health Organization Files Lawsuit to Block Mississippi’s Trigger Law From Taking Effect

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

In a last-ditch effort to stay open, Mississippi's last standing abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, has filed a lawsuit to block the state's pro-life trigger law from going into effect. 

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JWHO was at the center of the landmark United States Supreme Court case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, that overturned both Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) last week. The case involved a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi that called into question the constitutionality of Roe and Casey. 

Townhall reported Monday that JWHO had 10 days left to operate before the trigger law took effect and would force the clinic to close. The countdown came after Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch announced Monday that she published the required certification to the state's administrative bulletin for the pro-life trigger law to go into effect July 7. 

JWHO's lawsuit asks the Hinds County Chancery Court to block the state from enacting the trigger law, which would ban nearly all abortions in the state, and asks the court to prevent a six-week abortion ban from being enforced. It cites a 1998 ruling in the state that said that abortion is protected under the Mississippi Constitution. 

"Although the U.S. Supreme Court's June 24 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization overruled that Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, Mississippians still have a separate and independent right to privacy under the Mississippi Constitution that the Mississippi Supreme Court held encompasses a right to abortion," the lawsuit reads. It was filed on behalf of Jackson Women's Health by the Center for Reproductive Rights. 

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"Enforcement of the Trigger Ban would effectively prohibit all abortions in the state, and enforcement of the 6-Week Ban would prohibit most abortions in the state, all in violation of the right to privacy encompassed within the Mississippi Constitution, which would cause imminent and irreparable injury to Plaintiffs and their patients," it adds. 

This week, NPR's Rosemary Westwood noted that JWHO would have to shut down once the trigger law goes into effect. The clinic owner, Diane Derzis, reportedly plans to open a new clinic in New Mexico called "Pink House West" to help women obtain abortions. The nickname "pink house" comes from the fact that Jackson Women's Health is painted bubblegum pink. It has been the only abortion clinic in the Magnolia State since the early 2000s. 

Westwood noted that Derzis said she does not believe abortion will be legal again in Mississippi in her lifetime.

Since 1973, over 63 million abortions have occurred in the United States when Roe became law of the land, according to figures from the National Right to Life Committee. With Roe overturned, the issue of abortions is sent back to the states. Americans will elect representatives to create state laws on the issue. 

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"This decision is a victory not only for women and children, but for the court itself. I commend the court for restoring constitutional principle and returning this important issue to the American people," Fitch said in a statement following the ruling. 

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