A federal judge last week upheld a portion of a Mississippi law that requires physicians who provide abortion care be board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology, while ruling against a medically unnecessary admitting privileges rule.
The Center for Reproductive Rights in 2012 filed a lawsuit challenging the law on behalf of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s only abortion clinic.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in 2014 ruled that admitting privileges requirements were unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 blocked the requirement in a landmark Texas case. However, the board-certified requirement remained in place. Last week, U.S. District Judge Dan Jordan declined to declare the board-certified requirement as unconstitutional.
Hillary Schneller, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, told the Associated Press that the GOP-backed requirement removes “a huge number of qualified physicians” who would otherwise be qualified to provide abortion care.
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“It will continue, as we argued, to restrict access to abortion in Mississippi,” Schneller said.
Republican lawmakers have long argued that these types of requirements are necessary to protect pregnant people’s health and safety. The evidence shows abortion care is already highly regulated and overwhelmingly safe.
The National Academy of Medicine on Friday published a study that found abortion care in the United States is highly safe, effective, and can be offered in a variety of health-care settings, despite anti-choice lawmakers’ attempt to frame the common medical procedure as dangerous.
Julia Kaye, staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, said in a statement that the study confirms what research has long shown—that physicians are able to provide safe and effective abortion care.
“A patient who has decided to end a pregnancy should be allowed to get safe care from a qualified health care provider in her community, not be forced to travel hundreds of miles for no reason,” Kaye said.” We look forward to the day when our laws reflect the science.”