Abortion rights supporters were relieved when Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, was allowed to remain open while a court fight over a state law enacted last year played out in court. On Thursday, the state could move to finally shutter the clinic. (AP)

Republicans in many states have tackled abortion head on this year with new laws that would prohibit the procedure after a pregnancy reached a certain number of weeks. A more nuanced tactic is underway in a handful of states, using regulations as an anti-abortion weapon.

Mississippi has landed in court to defend a slate of tough provider requirements that advocates on both sides say could ultimately force the state’s only abortion-providing clinic to close. Alabama and North Dakota have adopted similar laws in recent weeks.

The Mississippi legal battle has its roots in a law enacted last year that sought to force abortion-providing doctors in the state to meet a series of requirements, such as obtaining admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and being state-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Supporters of the measure call the requirements common-sense steps to ensure that doctors who perform abortions meet certain standards and to protect women who undergo the procedure.

“This is a health care facility, so it is regulated,” said Mississippi Rep. Sam Mims, the Republican author of the bill. “This legislation deals nothing with a woman’s right to have an abortion.”