A federal judge has temporarily blocked a Mississippi abortion law that would effectively shut down the state's only operating abortion clinic.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan issued a temporary restraining order against the new law one day after it was implemented, setting a July 11 court hearing to determine whether the law should be blocked for a longer duration.
"Though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the court must follow," Jordan wrote as an explanation for his restraining order, Fox News reports.
"Plaintiffs have offered evidence – including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers – that the Act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi. They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted," he added.
As The Christian Post previously reported, the new law, entitled House Bill 1390, requires doctors performing abortions to be OB-GYNs and to have privileges at the local hospital.
The bill was signed into law by Mississippi's Republican Gov. Phil Bryant back in April, and while it came into effect on Saturday, June 30, it was then blocked by Jordan on Sunday, July 1.
"Gov. Bryant believes HB 1390 is an important step in strengthening abortion regulations and protecting the health and safety of women," Bryant spokesman Mick Bullock said in a statement Sunday night, according to the New York Daily News.
"The federal judge's decision is disappointing, and Gov. Bryant plans to work with state leaders to ensure this legislation properly takes effect as soon as possible," Bullock added.
The temporary blocking of the law has allowed the state's sole abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization (JWHO), to stay open.
The clinic previously filed a lawsuit against the state over the law, arguing that it is unconstitutional to a woman's right to choose "by imposing medically unjustified requirements on physicians who perform abortions."
The clinic, located in Jackson, has three out-of-state doctors currently performing abortions. While all three of these doctors are OB-GYN's, only one has privileges at the local hospital.
Proponents of the bill argue that if a woman does experience complications during an abortion, the doctor who performed the abortion should be able to accompany her to the hospital.
State Rep. Sam Mims, R-McComb, who sponsored the law, argues that it was created for the purpose of protecting women.
"We know for a fact that this is a serious procedure," Mims said in an interview Sunday.
"Women can have complications," he said, adding, "but the courts have spoken, and we'll let the legal process begin."