The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) has filed a lawsuit regarding a 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court decision of Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice that ruled abortion is a right in the Mississippi constitution based on the U.S. Supreme Court decisions of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton.
Following the overturning of Roe in June when the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that states can regulate abortion, Mississippi’s pro-life trigger law took effect, protecting most preborn children in the state from abortion. As of right now, that law is in place, as is the state Supreme Court’s ruling claiming that abortion is a right. AAPLOG’s lawsuit, filed by the Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) (with the assistance of Andy Taggart, founding partner of the law firm Taggart, Rimes & Wiggins), against the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure and its executive director, Dr. Kenneth Cleveland, seeks the overturning of Pro-Choice Mississippi v. Fordice due to the overturning of Roe.
“We’re in a situation where elective abortions appear to be both statutorily illegal but a constitutional right, according to this 1998 Mississippi Supreme Court opinion,” said Aaron Rice, director of MJI.
Dr. Donna Harrison, CEO of AAPLOG, said that the Mississippi Supreme Court opinion meant pro-abortion groups have “continuously sought to violate the conscience rights of pro-life physicians by forcing them to provide or refer patients for elective abortions.” She and other pro-life doctors have stated that medical institutions and board certification authorities have stated it is “unethical, and potentially punishable by the government, for physicians who oppose elective abortion to refuse to provide or refer patients” for abortions.
The lawsuit has two goals, according to Rice. “One is that we’re trying to protect the conscience rights of AAPLOG members here in Mississippi. Many professional medical societies have issued ethical guidelines that suggest that it’s unethical for pro-life physicians to refuse to provide elective abortions or refer patients to other providers for elective abortions,” he told Live Action News. “We’re hoping to establish that Mississippi’s elective abortion ban is constitutional and therefore, put an end to those intimidation tactics at least for pro-life physicians here in Mississippi. The other goal of the lawsuit is to clarify Mississippi law and establish that the Mississippi Constitution does not in fact protect a right to abortion. We’d like to end judicial activism in abortion policy here in the state.”
Rice noted, “We admire our clients, AAPLOG, and are proud of their willingness to stand up for this issue and to protect the conscience rights of their members here in Mississippi.”
The state has until December 14 to file an answer to AAPLOG’s lawsuit.