Judge blocks closure of Mississippi abortion clinic

The anti-abortion rights reactionary foes were dealt a setback in Mississippi as a judge blocked a law from taking effect that would close the state’s only abortion clinic.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan in Jackson issued a temporary restraining order the day the new law took effect.

He set a July 11 hearing to determine whether to block the law for a longer time.“Though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the court must follow,” Jordan wrote.

The law requires anyone performing abortions at the state’s only clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, and the clinic contends the mandate is designed to put it out of business.

A clinic spokeswoman, Betty Thompson, has said the two physicians who do abortions there are OB-GYNs who travel from other states.

The clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, filed a lawsuit seeking to block it. The suit says the admitting privileges requirement is not medically necessary and is designed to put the clinic out of business.

If Jackson Women’s Health Organization closes, Mississippi would be the only state without an abortion clinic. (SOURCE)

The law, according to ABC News, was touted as Republican Governor Phil Bryant said he wanted an “abortion free” state and if the clinic closes, then “so be it.” Also:

Michelle Movahed of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights is one of the attorneys representing the Mississippi clinic in its federal lawsuit. She said in an interview Friday that several states — including Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma — have tried in the past two or three years to chip away at access to abortion.

“One of the things that has really been surprising about Mississippi is how open the legislators and elected officials have been about their intentions,” Movahed said. “They’re not even pretending it’s about public safety. They’re openly saying they’re using this law to try to shut down the last abortion provider in the state.”

The lawsuit by the clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, notes that Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says on his website that the new abortion law “not only protects the health of the mother but should close the only abortion clinic in Mississippi.”

While I can’t say I’m surprised to see conservative leaning states willingly toss aside women’s constitutional rights when it comes to the right to seek and have an abortion, a little part of me always gets frustrated at the blatant disregard for women and our autonomy. Part of me always believe somewhere, somehow, a true conservative will stand up and not pick and choose whose rights are more worthy of protecting. 

Having said that, I can say I hope the July 11 hearing will result in blocking the law further. Women in Mississippi, as well as women in other states that have jumped on the anti-reproductive rights bandwagon, still have the right to seek and have abortions that were granted in the 1973 Roe v.

Wade ruling and no snake-in-the-grass conservative politicians have the authority to roll back that right.

Women in Mississippi should not have to face the burden of driving hours across the state line or carry their unwanted pregnancies to term just because a few ambitious politicians and other pro-life activists feel it’s their God-given duty to monitor what goes on inside her uterus. Women who become pregnant due to rape and/or incest should not have go through numerous, unnecessary loopholes just to exercise their rights granted to them under the law. Women who are trapped in abusive relationships should not be forced to carry to term children that could also become trapped in a cycle of abuse and degradation.

The reproductive rights of women are not political footballs conservative politicians can use to score points with their base and the reactionary, anti-woman, anti-abortion rights activists. Our uteri and constitutional right and the offensive campaign to regulate and eliminate each will not be a opportunistic conservative’s meal ticket to win re-election in the fall.