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Monica Hernandez / Eyewitness News
Email: mhernandez@wwltv.com | Twitter: @mhernandezwwl

NEW ORLEANS A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down a Mississippi law that would have shuttered the state's only abortion clinic.

Louisiana has a similar law that requires abortion clinics to be able to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles.

'The 5th Circuit [Court of Appeals] has made it very clear that they are going to continue to uphold the constitutional right of a woman to have a safe and legal abortion,' said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana.

'If it's substandard, if it can't meet the common-sense standards, then it should not stay open. So that's where we disagree with the 5th circuit's decision today,' said Ben Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life.

It's unclear if the court would also strike down Louisiana's law if it's challenged, especially because the same appellate court upheld a similar law in Texas, since some abortion clinics there remain open.

Mississippi's law was ruled unconstitutional because it would have closed the state's only abortion clinic, eliminating access to constitutionally protected care in that state. But Louisiana's new law likely won't shutter all five of the state's abortion clinics, since at least one doctor has hospital admitting privileges.

It has yet to be seen if any of Louisiana's abortion facilities will be forced to close when the law goes into effect Sept. 1.

'We don't believe the opinion from the 5th circuit today about the Mississippi law has any impact on the implementation of HB 388, the unsafe abortions protection act,' said Clapper.

'What it means is Louisiana cannot do what Mississippi has unsuccessfully done, which is to essentially reduce accessibility to the point where it will no longer be available in this state,' said Esman.

Pro-life groups say we may not have seen the final decision on yet Mississippi's law. It's possible the case could be heard again, this time by the full appellate court, since the initial three judge panel ruling was split 2-1 on their ruling.

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