Mississippi’s only abortion clinic drops challenge to state’s ban after sale

Mississippi’s only abortion clinic drops challenge to state’s ban after sale

Jackson Women’s Health Organization sold by clinic’s owner given ‘dim prospects for a speedy and meaningful ruling’

Jackson Women's Health Organization, known as the Pink House, in Jackson, Mississippi.

The Mississippi abortion clinic at the heart of the US supreme court’s decision to overturn its landmark 1973 Roe v Wade decision has dropped its effort to have the state’s high court halt a near-total ban on the procedure after its building was sold.

Jackson Women’s Health Organization had asked the Mississippi state supreme court to allow it to resume some abortion services after a lower-court judge rejected its appeal to prevent a near-total ban on abortions from taking effect on 7 July.

But after the state high court declined to expedite its appeal, Diane Derzis, the clinic’s owner, sold its building this week given “the dim prospects for a speedy and meaningful ruling”, said Rob McDuff, the clinic’s lawyer at the Mississippi center for justice.

“If the clinic is not in a position to reopen in Mississippi, it no longer has a basis to pursue this case in the courts,” he said in a statement.

Republican Mississippi attorney general Lynn Fitch did not respond to requests for comment.

The abortion clinic, the state’s only one, was the subject of the conservative-majority US supreme court’s 24 June decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe, which had recognized a woman’s federal right to abortion under the US constitution.

That decision upheld a Mississippi law barring abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Mississippi was also one of 13 states with “trigger” laws designed to ban or restrict abortions if Roe was overturned.

Mississippi’s 2007 law bans abortions at any stage of pregnancy except to protect a pregnant woman’s life or in cases of rape.

The clinic, also called the Pink House, argued the ban violated Mississippi’s state constitution, citing a 1998 Mississippi supreme court ruling recognizing a right to abortions.

But judge Debbra Halford on 5 July ruled it was “more than doubtful” the state’s high court would uphold that decision as it rested on the US supreme court’s now-reversed abortion rulings.