Federal judge temporarily halts Mississippi’s abortion law

Pro-choice advocates rally outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which was said to be one of the most restrictive abortion policies in the country.

The ruling: The presiding judge ruled that the state "shall not enforce" the law for 10 days and that the court "will take expedited briefing on whether it should issue a preliminary injunction and whether that relief should be consolidated with a trial on the merits."

The details: The standstill comes less than a day after Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law, which triggered an immediate rebuke from abortion rights supporters and women's heath organizations. The challenge was filed by state’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The backdrop: In the filing requesting the halt, Dr. Sacheen Carr-Ellis says she’ll have to stop providing abortions to women past 15 weeks of pregnancy — or she would lose her state medical license under the new law. She said the clinic has “one patient past 14 weeks, 6 days [and is] scheduled for an abortion” on Tuesday afternoon. “That patient will be turned away, unless a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction has been issued.”

  • The lawsuit said the law is unconstitutional and should be immediately struck down.
  • "Under decades of United States Supreme Court precedent, the state of Mississippi cannot ban abortion prior to viability, regardless of what exceptions are provided to the ban," the suit reads.

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