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Battle Over State’s Only Abortion Clinic Continues

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 19 Aug 2013 07:39am | comments

Supporters of Mississippi's only abortion clinic are turning up the volume on their defense of the facility. Protestors traveled from across the country for what they call an abortion rights freedom ride.

 The protestors gathered in front of the bright pink Jackson Women's Health Organization with signs and even an oversized coat hanger

 The Saturday afternoon demonstration is part of a so-called "abortion rights freedom ride," which is an effort by advocates to make their support of the clinic more public.

 Anna Jackson drove from St. Louis Missouri to join the protest.

 "Because I have to stand up for women's rights. They are trying to set us back decades and we have come too far. We should have the right to an abortion. We should have a right to choose," Jackson said.

 The advocates say they are worried that a law requiring all the OB-GYNs at the clinic to also have admitting privileges at a local hospital will shut the clinic down, and leave the state without an abortion clinic.

 Clinic executive director Shannon Brewer says she welcomes the boisterous crowd.

 "Been a long time coming and I think this is what we need. I think this is exactly what we need. We have been quiet too long and I think that is a problem," Brewer said.

 Clinic leadership says requests for privileges have been denied in part because Hospitals often won't give them to their out-of-state physicians.  

 Protest organizer Sunsara Taylor says Jackson was their last stop on the nation wide protest because the clinic is facing closure.

 "Its in a desperate and dangerous situation and it is totally unacceptable. And it is immoral for women and men from around the country to abandon the women of Mississippi. And it is delusional to think that if we allow this to stand and this clinic to close that this won't spread and set a precedent that women have to face around the country," Taylor said.

 Supporters of the law say it will make abortion and the clinic safer for women.

 A judge has set date for a jury trial next spring that could decide the future of the clinic.






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