Home State Wide Abortions illegal in Mississippi despite Supreme Court ruling ensuring medication access

Abortions illegal in Mississippi despite Supreme Court ruling ensuring medication access


Despite a recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court ensuring the availability of the abortion medication mifepristone, most abortions will remain illegal in Mississippi.

The nation’s highest court in a unanimous decision struck down a lawsuit attempting to limit availability of mifepristone, which is widely used to induce abortions. But use of the drug remains illegal in Mississippi and 13 other states that have near total bans on abortion.

“Unfortunately abortion remains illegal in Mississippi whether by medication or other means,” said Rob McDuff, of the Mississippi Center for Justice and the attorney for the last abortion provider that remained in the state before the Supreme Court overturned the national right to an abortion in 2021.  “However, the Mississippi law banning abortion specifically states that a woman cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion.  Anyone who helps her might be prosecuted, but not the person who has the abortion.”

Technically, a woman could receive the abortion pill from an out-of-state provider through the mail and it could prove difficult for the state to pursue any prosecution. PBS News Hour reported studies found that at the end of 2023, about 8,000 women a month in states where abortions were banned were receiving the abortion pill via mail from states where abortions are legal and providers who perform them are protected by state law from prosecution.

State Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office did not answer questions about the most recent Supreme Court ruling. Fitch filed the lawsuit that led to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which was the 1973 landmark case that guaranteed the national right to an abortion.

While Fitch’s office did not respond to questions about the most recent Supreme Court ruling, in the past Fitch has attempted to force the Biden administration to provide to her office or other law enforcement medical information on women who leave Mississippi for abortions.

McDuff said the Center for Justice is willing to represent for free anyone who is prosecuted under the state’s abortion laws.

While state law bans most abortions in Mississippi and there is no clinic providing abortions, a 1990s’ state Supreme Court ruling said abortions were legal under the Mississippi Constitution. That ruling, which would theoretically trump state law, has never been reversed by the current Supreme Court.

A lawsuit by anti-abortion groups is seeking to have the 1990s’ opinion reversed.

Mississippi Rep. Zakiya Summers, D-Jackson, said she does not know if it would be feasible to introduce legislation based on the most recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling ensuring the availability of the abortion pill.

“It would be DOA,” she said. “The (Republican) majority does not want to touch anything dealing with abortion. They have been given their marching orders.”

Summers said she will continue to focus on trying to pass legislation guaranteeing access to contraceptives, which she says is a different issue than what was decided in the most recent Supreme Court ruling on the abortion pill.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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