The U.S. Supreme Court today took no action on a dispute over a Mississippi abortion law that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
As a result, the law will remain on hold for several more months — perhaps until the court decides whether to take a similar law from Texas. The Supreme Court Monday blocked enforcement of the Texas law while it's on appeal.
Passed by the state legislature in 2012, the Mississippi law was blocked by lower courts, which found that it would effectively force the state's only licensed abortion clinic to shut down.
The state argued that the law would not unduly burden the right of access to abortion services, because many women in Mississippi could go to nearby clinics in Tennessee, Louisiana, and Alabama. But the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that "Mississippi may not shift its obligation with respect to the established constitutional rights of its citizens to another state."
In a more recent ruling, a different panel of the same appeals court said that requiring women to leave Texas for abortion services is not necessarily unconstitutional. That decision came in the separate dispute over the 2013 Texas abortion law.