Home » NEWS » Health » State to ask judge to clear way to close abortion clinic

State to ask judge to clear way to close abortion clinic

JACKSON — Mississippi will ask a federal appeals court to overturn a ruling that has temporarily blocked authorities from closing the state’s only abortion clinic.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III ruled in April that the state couldn’t close Jackson Women’s Health Organization while the clinic still has a federal lawsuit pending.

The state filed a notice on Friday that it will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans to overturn Jordan’s decision.

The clinic’s lawsuit, filed last summer in U.S. District Court in Jackson, challenges a 2012 state law that requires each OB-GYN who does abortions at the clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. So far, the clinic has been unable to obtain the privileges.

Supporters of the law, including Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, say it’s designed to protect women’s health, but opponents say it’s designed to close the clinic and cut off access to abortion.

Jordan allowed the law to take effect in July 2012, but he blocked the state from closing the clinic while the clinic tried to get admitting privileges. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, because hospitals often won’t give them to out-of-state physicians. The clinic uses out-of-state OB-GYNs, including one from Chicago.

Contacted Tuesday by The Associated Press, clinic owner Diane Derzis deferred comment to the Center for Reproductive Rights, a New York-based group that represents the clinic in its lawsuit. Bebe Anderson, an attorney who is director of the U.S. legal program for the center, said in a phone interview that Mississippi has been trying to shut down the clinic.

“We would hope that the 5th Circuit will uphold the well-reasoned decision by the district court judge,” Anderson said.

With only one abortion clinic remaining open in the state, Anderson said, “obviously, the stakes are high for women in Mississippi.”

Republican state Rep. Sam Mims of McComb, chief sponsor of the admitting-privileges bill that became law, said Tuesday he’s pleased that the attorney general is asking the appeals court to overturn the ruling that has allowed the clinic to remain open.

“I continue to believe the law is constitutional,” Mims said. “The intent of the law is clear. We believe this is a health care issue for women.”

The lawsuit is scheduled for trial March 3 in Jackson.

BEFORE YOU GO…

… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Megan Wright

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*