The Clock is Ticking

By: Mike McDaniel
By: Mike McDaniel

The clock is ticking down on the Jackson Women's Health Organization. When the time is up, the clinic could be shutting its doors, putting a stop to abortions in Mississippi. That's if a lawsuit filed by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights isn't acted on by Sunday at midnight.

The suit claims House Bill 1390, which is set to take effect on Monday, is unconstitutional in shutting down the clinic.

"We filed the lawsuit to protect the constitutional right and the health of the women in Mississippi," said the center's litigation director, Julie Rikelman.

Under the new law, physicians practicing abortions must be OB-GYN certified and have admitting privileges at local hospitals. The clinic maintains the certification of its physicians but says admitting privileges can't be obtain before the law takes effect.

"We're talking about an extraordinary attack on this one clinic, one business in Mississippi," said state president of the National Organization of Women, Lauri Roberts.

Roberts says the law needs to be put on hold while physicians acquire those privileges.

"It will stop woman from having access to legal abortions in Mississippi," said Roberts.

Pro-life Mississippi executive director, Dana Chisholm, says the state has every right to set it's own requirements for practicing physicians.

"It's to protect the women of the state of Mississippi and give them the same care that any other medical facility or physician would give," said Chisholm.

Those siding with the clinic don't buy that argument and say the law is veiled with good intentions, but in reality there's only one goal.

"A number of the politicians who have supported this law have been very clear that the purpose of it was to make Mississippi abortion free," said Rikelman.

Last week, the department of health notified the clinic that enforcement of the new law would be reserved until mid-August, but the department later reversed that decision. State representative Sam Mims, a republican from McComb who sponsored the law, sent a letter to state health officer Mary Currier last week, asking her to personally see to it that the law is enforced as soon as it takes effect.

Barring any action from the court, that would make Mississippi abortion-free on Monday.

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