The only remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi had been set to close under a state law, but on Wednesday a judge ruled that it could stay open, keeping in place a temporary restraining order against the law.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III didn't say how long his order halting the clinic's closure would last, The Associated Press' Emily Wagster Pettus reports. The law, which requires anyone performing an abortion to be an OB-GYN with hospital admitting privileges, would have made it nearly impossible to get the procedure in Mississippi because hospitals haven't said whether they'd consider granting the admission privileges. "Supporters of the law say it's designed to protect patients. Republican Gov. Phil Bryant says he hopes it will help make Mississippi 'abortion-free,' " per Pettus.
As the Jackson Free Press' R.L. Nave and Donna Ladd points out, the judge has expressed his own suspicion of the law's supporters and their intentions: "In his July 1 injunction order, Jordan questioned the motive of the bill's backers—pointing out that they seem more focused on eliminating access to abortion—a constitutional right—than in protecting the health of women."
At some point, Jordan will have to decide more permanently whether the clinic can stay open or if it must close under the Mississippi law. For now, he said he would "extend the restraining order until he can read Mississippi Board of Health rules," Nave and Ladd reported. He didn't say when that would be.