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Mississippi governor signs bill adding new medical safety standards on abortionists

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On Monday, the state of Mississippi took at major step to protect unborn children. According to Liberty Counsel, Governor Phil Bryant signed a bill into law that requires abortionists working in the state to be an obstetrician-gynecologist with admitting privileges at a local hospital. Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel noted, “No one leaves an abortion clinic uninjured – not the mother and certainly not the unborn child. This commonsense law would require that if those injuries require immediate hospital care, the mother can be treated immediately by her doctor in a nearby hospital.”

The move by Governor Bryant is not without controversy (go figure). The only clinic in the state that offers abortions is the Jack Women’s Health Organization. According to the Wall Street Journal, three board-certified OB-GYNs perform abortions at the clinic. But Shelley Abrams, the executive director of the clinic, reported that only one of the doctors on staff has admitting privileges, saying the two other doctors who “do the bulk of the abortions” don’t have admitting privileges to a local hospital.

The clinic is a client of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRC) in New York. According to Julie Rikelman, litigation director at the CRC, the center is “taking a hard look at [the Mississippi law] for potential litigation.”

Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute told the Wall Street Journal that the Mississippi law is the “only one to require that abortion providers essentially be OB-GYNs,” instead of just trained in performing abortions. Some states do allow certain advanced nurse practitioners or physicians’ assistants to provide abortions in some cases. Even before the new legislation received Governor Bryant’s signature, Mississippi allowed only licensed physicians to perform abortions. Other states already require doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital to perform an abortion.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization will attempt to secure admitting privileges for the two doctors on staff who do not already have them but doesn’t know what route it will take if the privileges aren’t given. Ms. Abrams told the Wall Street Journal that the clinic has not ruled out legal action. The clinic does have a transfer agreement with a local hospital in case a patient receiving an abortion needs emergency medical help.

The new law is not connected to Personhood Amendment efforts that failed in Mississippi in previous months, which would have declared that a human life begins when a human egg is fertilized.

Staver praised Governor Bryant and the Mississippi legislature, saying, “Governor Bryant and the Mississippi Legislature are champions for the cause of women’s health and the sanctity of life. The lives of women will be saved because they stood courageously against Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion activists who operate under the pretext of women’s health but stand against this and other provisions that would advance women’s health.”

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. You can find out more about Liberty Counsel here.

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