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Judge to decide Wednesday whether to extend TRO against new Mississippi abortion clinic regulation

by | Jul 9, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Mississippi State Representative Sam Mims, who sponsored HB 1390.

When the Associated Press tells readers that a particular judge is a “Republican-appointed judge” yet finds reasons to praise him, you can bet the rent that the judge ruled “correctly” in an abortion case. Such is the treatment the AP afforded U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III, who temporarily blocked a new Mississippi law that required abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

(Critics of the law would have you believe there is no such thing as abortion complications and therefore there is no need to require the abortionist be able to attend the aborted woman at a local hospital.)

So the AP sings Judge Jordan’s praises to high heaven. For example, “Judge Jordan doesn’t have any agenda,” one local Republican told the AP. “His only agenda, from what I can tell, is to follow the law.” Etc., etc., etc.

The law was to go into effect July 1 before Jordan issued a temporary restraining order at the very last minute. The two sides will take the case up at a hearing Wednesday to determine whether the TRO is extended.  From a number of newspaper stories, we have the outlines of what the state and attorneys for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization have argued, based on papers filed by last Friday. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the sole abortion clinic in the state.

Attorneys for the abortion clinic argued that it would face permanent harm as a result of the new law which they insist is “likely unconstitutional.”  The Associated Press reported that “The clinic argued Friday that if it is allowed to remain open and the law is in effect, it might eventually face retroactive penalties if it can’t obtain admitting privileges for its physicians.” (This is a reference to two abortionists who live out of state but who travel to the abortion clinic to perform abortions.)

The state of Mississippi countered that it has “substantial reason for concern regarding the health and safety record” of the clinic. According to the AP, Benjamin Bryant and Roger Googe wrote that the law is designed to protect patients, adding “that the clinic’s owner — Diane Derzis — also owned an Alabama clinic that was shut down for health violations.”

“Inspection reports compiled by the Alabama authorities contain evidence that clinic staff failed to respond to complaints of post-surgical complications,” Bryant and Googe wrote. “Derzis resolved the matter with the state of Alabama by entering into a consent order in which she agreed not to run the clinic.”

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