NRL News

Federal Judge Extends TRO blocking Mississippi Clinic Regulation Bill from taking effect

by | Aug 24, 2012





By Dave Andrusko

Mississippi State Representative Sam Mims, who sponsored HB 1390.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III has extended his temporary restraining order that blocks a Mississippi abortion clinic regulation bill from taking effect.

The order will be in place until Jordan “can review newly drafted rules on how the Mississippi Department of Health will administer a new abortion law,” CNN reported, “He then plans to rule on whether the temporary order will become permanent, or the clinic [the Jackson Women’s Health Organization] must shut its doors.”

If the federal judge “decides not to make his temporary order permanent, the state can begin a 60- to 90-day administrative process to begin closing the clinic for noncompliance with the new state law,” CNN added.

The new law requires that abortionists be certified a obstetrician/gynecologist with admitting privileges in a local hospital.  Attorneys for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s sole abortion clinic, argued that requiring admitting privileges would cause the abortion clinic “irreparable harm.” 

They said that the clinic had been unable to obtain admitting privileges for its two out-of-state abortionists who fly in, and that, in any event, the requirement is medically unnecessary.

Mississippi state Rep. Sam Mims, who sponsored the legislation, said, “I think the intent is to make sure that women who are receiving these abortions are receiving abortions by a professional physician who is certified. Mims added, “If something goes wrong, which it might — we hope it doesn’t, but it could — that that physician could follow the patient to a local hospital. That’s the intent.”

In papers filed with Judge Jordan the state countered that it has “substantial reason for concern regarding the health and safety record” of the clinic. According to a prior AP story, two attorneys for the state, Benjamin Bryant and Roger Googe, added “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.”

While the clinic might have to wait to get hospital privileges for the two abortionists, this “inconvenience is not ‘irreparable harm.'”

The Daily Beast ran a profile this week of Derzis which began, “After nearly four decades working in, running, and owning abortion clinics, both her champions and her opponents call her the ‘abortion queen,’” a “moniker”  that Derzis embraces.

According to Allison Yarrow, “The Jackson Women’s Health Organization sees about 200 women each month,” including 44 the Friday before the law was going to take effect. (In court papers, the clinic said it had performed about 3,000 abortions in 18 months.)

Worth noting is that today’s AP story included every argument previously made by the clinic that had appeared in news accounts (and some others that may not have), but just a few words from those who supported the law.

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