Mississippi judge declines to block 'trigger law' banning most abortions

Mississippi's trigger law banning most abortions will take effect on Thursday

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A Mississippi judge declined a request from the state's only abortion clinic on Tuesday to block a trigger law that bans most abortions from taking effect. 

The law, which was passed by the Mississippi legislature in 2007, bans all abortions except for when a pregnant woman's life is in danger or if the pregnancy is caused by a rape that has been reported to law enforcement. It does not make an exception for incest. 

The law will now take effect on Thursday after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, allowing states to restrict abortions. 

Attorney Rob McDuff, an attorney representing the Jackson Women's Health Organization, speaks with reporters, after arguing for a lawsuit filed by the state's only abortion clinic, to remain open by blocking a law that would ban most abortions in the state.

Attorney Rob McDuff, an attorney representing the Jackson Women's Health Organization, speaks with reporters, after arguing for a lawsuit filed by the state's only abortion clinic, to remain open by blocking a law that would ban most abortions in the state. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Jackson Women’s Health Organization had asked the judge to block the law on the grounds that Mississippi's constitution "includes an implied right to choose whether or not to have an abortion," citing a 1998 ruling from the Mississippi Supreme Court. 

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"These bans should have been blocked today. They violate the Mississippi constitution," one of the clinic's attorneys, Hillary Schneller, said in a statement after the ruling came down. 

"People in Mississippi who need abortions right now are in a state of panic, trying to get into the clinic before it’s too late. No one should be forced to live in fear like that."

Anti-abortion activist Gabriel Olivier, center, holds his Bible and a message sign while abortion rights supporters hold counter signs and dance around him, as he and other anti-abortion supporters call out to people leaving the Hinds County Chancery Court, Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Jackson, Miss.

Anti-abortion activist Gabriel Olivier, center, holds his Bible and a message sign while abortion rights supporters hold counter signs and dance around him, as he and other anti-abortion supporters call out to people leaving the Hinds County Chancery Court, Tuesday, July 5, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi Chancery Judge Debbra K. Halford wrote Tuesday that the "plain wording of the Mississippi Constitution does not mention abortion" and it is "more than doubtful" that the state's Supreme Court would uphold that 1998 ruling in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Jackson Women’s Health Organization will shut down on Wednesday, but another attorney for the clinic, Rob McDuff, said they are reviewing the ruling and considering their options. 

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Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves called Tuesday’s ruling a "great victory for life." 

"This law has the potential to save the lives of thousands of unborn Mississippi children," Reeves said in a statement. "I also believe it is critical that we showcase to every mother and child that they are loved and that their communities will support them."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.