NRL News

Pro-abortionists ask Judge to stop Mississippi abortion law

by | Dec 3, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

Jackson Women’s Health Organization

Last week attorneys for Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic took their case to  U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan, asking Jordan to prevent state officials from enforcing a law that requires all abortionists be board-certified and have admitting privileges to a local hospital.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) described its lawsuit as “a Constitutional challenge to the medically unjustified requirements that were enacted in an attempt to make Mississippi ‘abortion-free.’” Judge Jordan did not indicate when he would rule.

Including Mississippi, ten states require abortionists to maintain local hospital admitting privileges.

The law was originally set to go into effect July 1, but at the eleventh hour Judge Jordan temporarily blocked Mississippi from enforcing HB 1390. He later extended the temporary restraining order a second time. Judge Jordan has blocked any civil or criminal penalties against the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and its employees.

Pro-lifers say the requirement is to protect women. Prior to the issuance of the first TRO, State Representative Sam Mims, who sponsored HB 1390, explained in an interview with CNN, “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.” He added, “If something goes wrong, which it might — we hope it doesn’t, but it could — that physician could follow the patient to a local hospital. That’s the intent.”

Unless Judge Jordan agrees with CRR, in theory the Jackson Women’s Health Organization will close next month, assuming it is unable to find a local hospital that will admit its abortionists.  However, that is unlikely to happen so quickly.

The CRR lawsuit was filed against Dr. Mary Currier, the head of the Mississippi state Health Department. In July she told the court that even if the abortion clinic lost its license, it would have more time to appeal the decision in state court.

There were 2,297 abortions performed in Mississippi in 2010, according to data on the State Health Department’s Web site.

“Mississippi physicians who perform fewer than 10 abortions a month can avoid having their offices regulated as an abortion clinic, and thus avoid restrictions in the new law,” the Associated Press reported. “The Health Department said it doesn’t have a record of how many physicians perform fewer than 10 abortions a month.”

According to Associated Press stories published earlier this year two attorneys for the state, Benjamin Bryant and Roger Googe, said “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.”

The Daily Beast ran a profile in July 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.)

Categories: Abortion