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A Mississippi Law That Could Close the State’s Only Abortion Clinic In Court Today

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 28 Apr 2014 03:47am | comments

Today is a big day that could determine the future of Mississippi's lone abortion clinic. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that three federal judges in New Orleans are going to hear arguments about the constitutionality of a law that could potential cause the clinic to shut down. 

Nearly every day outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization, Mississippi's only abortion clinic, abortion rights supporters and opponents face-off.

 But today the battle will be playing out in a New Orleans court room.

 The Center for Reproductive Rights initiated the law suit that put a temporary stop on a 2012 law that would require that every doctor working at an abortion clinic in the state be an OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. 

Bebe Anderson with the center says that injunction should continue. 

“Admitting privileges law will clearly cause Mississippi to be unable to obtain abortions in the state because it will close the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. That poses a substantial obstacle to any woman trying to obtain abortions in the state, therefore it is unconstitutional,” Anderson said.

 The state appealed which is how the case ended up in New Orleans. 

The law's supporters, who include Governor Phil Bryant, will likely argue that the regulations are not a burden and make abortions safer in the state.

 Berkeley Ostrander, an anti-abortion advocate protesting outside the clinic, agrees.

 “Because the womken do better with a physian that they know. If they accompany them, the people in the hospital know the woman had an abortion. Sometimes women do better,” Ostrander said.

 “I’m worried. I am very worried,”

 That's the clinic's owner Diane Derzis.

 She says that after a ruling by three judges in the same circuit supporting a similar Texas law that she thinks the court will rule against the clinic....

 “We definitely have a hostile court. I think the court wants to see this issue moved up. We are definitely going to have a supreme court challenge whichever side prevails,” Derzis said.

 Mississippi's case is going before a different set of judges.

 It will likely be sometime before the judges reach a decision.

In the meantime, Mississippi’s only abortion clinic will remain open.

 

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