Last Mississippi abortion clinic allowed to temporarily remain open

Photo credit: Stu Seeger on Flickr

In April I wrote about a Mississippi law that could have the effect of closing down the only abortion clinic in that state. Yesterday, that law went into effect.

The law requires that abortion doctors be licensed OB/GYNs with admitting privileges to local hospitals. In Mississippi there is only one abortion clinic, and it did not conform to the law at the time it was passed. But three months after the legislation was passed, the clinic still does not comply with the new requirements.

CNN reports that on Friday, the last business day before the law was to take effect, the doctors from the Jackson Women’s Health Organization had not yet been granted admitting privileges to any of the local hospitals.

The clinic and supporters of abortion asked the District Court for an injunction to stop the law from taking effect. Yesterday, this injunction was granted.

Judge Jordan, who granted the injunction, had this to say:

Plaintiffs have offered evidence – including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers – that the Act’s purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi. They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted.

This ruling by the judge will temporarily allow the clinic to remain open until a permanent decision is reached on the constitutionality of the new legislation.

State Representative Sam Mims was a sponsor of the legislation. He states that the purpose of the legislation is to protect women who are receiving abortions:

I think the intent is to make sure that women who are receiving these abortions are receiving abortions by a professional physician who is certified. … If something goes wrong, which it might – we hope it doesn’t, but it could – that physician could follow the patient to a local hospital. That’s the intent. And what happens afterwards, we’ll have to see what happens.

The New York Times reports that Mississippi will be the tenth state to have admitting privilege requirements for doctors at abortion clinics, but that in the other nine states the requirement has not effectively stopped abortion.

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