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Governor Bryant Signs New Regulations For Mississippi’s Only Abortion Clinic

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 16 Apr 2012 06:56pm | comments
Governor Phil Bryant Signed the Bill Monday.

Mississippi'sonly abortion clinic will soon face new regulations that some believe could cause the facility to close. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Governor Phil Bryant signed a new law that he sees as a step toward ending abortions in Mississippi.

When the law takes effect July first doctors who work at the state's only abortion clinic in Jackson will have to be an OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Governor Phil Bryant used three pens to sign the bill at a Monday signing ceremony about a week after the bill passed the legislature.

He says the bill is to protect the health of women who choose to have an abortion.

"If it closes that clinic then so be it. We are going to continue to try to work to end abortion in Mississippi and this is an historic day to begin that process," Bryant said.

Many supporters of the bill say the main goal is to force the clinic to close since it could be difficult for doctors who live out of state to get admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Anti-abortion activist Terri Herring says the long term goal is to make Mississippi abortion free.

"I for one am ready to make abortion a thing of the past in Mississippi. Like the Civil Rights issue I believe our nation will grieve the day we allowed abortion in our nation," Herring said.

Currently all of the doctors that work at the clinic are OB-GYNs and one has admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Nancy Kohsin-Kintigh with the American Civil Liberties Union says closing the clinic could actually harm women's health in Mississippi.

"The clinic already has a safe procedure. An agreement with a local hospital. And this is just one more burden put on the abortion provider. We know that when there is not safe access to abortion and birth control, then women will resort to desperate measures," Kohsin-Kintigh said.

Kohsin-Kintigh hinted that they could file a law suit challenging the law but the ownership of the clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, is promising to file suit if they cannot meet the new regulations.

Shelly Abrams is the executive director of the clinic.

"You cannot create a law that essentially outlaws abortion in this country, at least not yet. And if we are not able to get admitting privileges with our highly qualified doctors then this road block has to be taken through the courts and it has to be addressed," Abrams said.

When asked about the potential for litigation, Governor Bryant says other states have similar laws and he believes Mississippi's new abortion regulations would be considered legal.

This story is part of a partnership between MPB, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

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Governor Phil Bryant Signed the Bill Monday.


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