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Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs [15-week ban]

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Mississippi Center for Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and an independent provider challenging four categories of Mississippi laws and regulations that they claim impose a burden on a pregnant person’s right to choose an abortion, and are therefore unconstitutional.

First, Plaintiffs are challenging the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) licensing scheme for abortion providers. They allege that “[t]he TRAP Licensing Scheme requires providers of abortion care to obtain and renew a particular health care facility license and to meet separate (albeit in some instances overlapping) sets of requirements established by both the Mississippi legislature and [Mississippi Department of Health] via its implementing regulations in order to obtain or keep that license.”

Second, Plaintiffs are challenging “laws intended to delay, demean, and misinform women seeking abortion care,” including the mandatory delay and two-day trip requirement, the biased counseling law which requires abortion providers to relay a state-mandated message to their patients, and the state’s ban on telemedicine.

Third, Plaintiffs challenge the state’s 15 week ban, which U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves blocked on March 20.

On March, 29, 2019, Plaintiffs expanded their lawsuit to include a challenge to SB 2116, a law criminalizing abortion once a heartbeat has been detected, which is around six weeks of pregnancy.

Plaintiffs allege that these laws and regulations impose an undue burden on a pregnant person’s access to abortion. They further allege that the laws violate their patients’ right to due process and equal protection under the 14th Amendment. And with respect to the biased counseling law–which forces providers to convey a state mandated message–Plaintiffs allege infringement on the providers’ First Amendment rights.


Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit challenging the state’s 15 week ban on March 19. The next day, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the law citing its “dubious constitutionality.” On April 9, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint which includes claims related to Mississippi’s TRAP licensing scheme and the challenge to the mandatory delay and biased counseling provisions, as well as the state’s ban on telemedicine.

On November 20, 2018, U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves permanently blocked the 15-week ban ruling the law is an unconstitutional ban on abortion prior to viability.

On May 24, 2019, Judge Reeves granted a preliminary injunction against the “heartbeat” ban.

The case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.


**last updated October 27, 2020