Yesterday the judge who holds the power to shut down Mississippi’s only abortion clinic said he’d extend the temporary block on the new TRAP law, while he continues to decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction.
As Vanessa noted when the law was first blocked earlier this month, the judge is more than a little disturbed that many state officials–including the governor and lieutenant governor–have unabashedly and gleefully declared that their intention with this law is to “end abortion in Mississippi.” The state’s attorneys argued that those comments aren’t relevant and instead urged the judge “to look only at the bill’s language for its intent, and not at public officials’ language about its motive.”
While I think it’s totally clear what the intent behind the bill is (I mean, really, Mississippi politicians have been notably upfront about it–remember ol’ Bubba?) I also don’t really see how that’s even relevant. States aren’t allowed to place undue burdens on, or substantial obstacles to, women seeking abortions. The only question here is what the effect–not the intent–of this law would be. I’m fairly certain that the pregnant women who would have to travel 200 miles, over state lines, to Louisiana, Tennessee, or Alabama if the clinic closes don’t care if the bill was passed in the name of “women’s health” or for shits and giggles.
Anti-choicers have gotten good at dressing up their restrictions in pretty language about protecting women. But an undue burden’s an undue burden–and if not having even one legal abortion provider in your state isn’t one, I don’t know what is.