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Fight Over Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic Not Over

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 02 Jul 2012 03:37pm | comments
A sign outside the clinic.

Hundreds of new laws are now in effect in Mississippi but one high profile law is on hold. New restrictions on the state's only abortion clinic have been halted by a federal judge and the clinic remains open. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that neither anti-abortion forces nor the clinic's ownership are backing down.

Anti-abortion protestors sing and pray outside of the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Jackson.

About a dozen protestors display graphic photographs and carry anti-abortion signs outside the gates of the Jackson facility one day after a judge put a halt to a new law that the protestors had hoped would shut the facility down.

Protestor Dana Chisholm says the delay is not going to deter her efforts to see the clinic closed.

"The battle is the lord's but we are going to do our best. We have to get ready for battle but the battle is the lord's. The true justice comes from the lord. And America, we have come a long way from the country we used to be. And the justice system has a habit of thwarting the will of the American people and legislature and that is sad," Chisholm said.

The new law requires all doctors performing abortions at the clinic to be OB-GYN's with admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Sitting on a bright red couch in the clinic's lobby, clinic owner Diane Derzis says neither of the two doctors who do the procedure were able to get admitting privileges.

She says the law is unconstitutional because the goal is to force the clinic to close and filed the law suit to keep it open.

"The sole intent is to put us out of business. And the Supreme Court has ruled that women have a constitutional right to have this service available," Derzis said.

Derzis points to the protestors outside the facility as part of the reason she believes that hospitals are reluctant to extend admitting privileges.

"This is the reality of a patient having an abortion in this country today. She is most likely going to cross a picket line. She is going to be screamed at and harassed. So that is not any different. But a hospital? Probably doesn't want that in front of them," Derzis said.

If the clinic closes, Mississippi would be the only state without an abortion clinic.

Governor Phil Bryant, who says he wants Mississippi to 'be abortion free', called the decision disappointing and is promising to work with state lawmakers to see the law enforced as soon as possible.

The judge has set a trial date for next week to determine if the hold on the law should be extended.



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