Keep Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic Open

Target: Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant

Goal: Keep the state’s only abortion clinic open

Abortion clinics have always been controversial places. They are hot topics in every state and are often met with open hostility in many parts of the nation. Oftentimes that hostility descends from state governments themselves. States will sometimes rescind public funding from any clinic that performs abortions within its borders. Other times local politicians and policymakers will often contrive arbitrary and extremely restrictive laws in an attempt to drive the clinics into the ground. Such is the case in Mississippi, where the state’s last abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is fighting to keep its doors open.

The sole clinic recently missed its deadline to comply with a set of absurd and unnecessary laws that were passed in the Summer of 2012. The most important provision of these rules requires the clinic to have doctors on staff that all have hospital admitting privileges. This has proven difficult for the state’s clinics to accomplish (as it is an unnecessary rule and a procedure mired in red tape), and as a result the Jackson Women’s Health Organization has been fighting for its life.

The law is nominally supposed to ensure that clinics operate above board and that the health of the clinic’s patients is being protected. However, Phil Bryant, Mississippi’s pro-life governor has explicitly said that his intent and goal is to shut down the clinic, an opinion intimated to a group of pastors and a recent pro-life luncheon.

Although Bryant does not have the authority to personally shut down abortion clinics, he has been able to make their futures far more tenuous by installing laws to restrict their freedom. These “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers” laws (often called TRAP laws) do not help anyone, but infringe upon women’s reproductive rights and dominion over their own bodies.

Closing abortion clinics will have no benefits for the state of Mississippi. Nothing good can come from it—more unwanted pregnancies, unwanted children, people having to seek state assistance because they were forced to have a child they were not prepared for. People will not be able to access much-needed contraceptives, STD screenings, advice, and help. It is perfectly fine for Governor Bryant to be anti-abortion. That is his right and no one can tell him differently. However, it is not fine for him to foist his opinion on to others, endangering his constituents and taking away their reproductive rights. Tell Governor Bryant and the state of Mississippi to keep the Jackson Women’s Health Organization open.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Governor Bryant,

A governor has to keep a lot in mind, juggling myriad responsibilities and an extremely busy schedule. Certainly though, the health and well-being of the people of Mississippi must be one of your priorities. If it is, then I implore to reconsider your stance towards the Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic and is an undeserving victim of the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers laws that you put in place. You may not agree with abortion personally but you cannot force your opinions on all the people of the state.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization (and clinics all across our nation) provides people in need with critical services such as contraception (which will actually lead to fewer unwanted pregnancies), STD screening and counseling. People depend on these services, and as reluctant as you may be to admit it, they help Mississippi. There is just no denying the facts—fewer unwanted pregnancies and neglected children are good things.

The laws that you have passed have been unfair to the Jackson Women’s Health Organization and detrimental to the people of Mississippi. If you shut down the clinic your people will only suffer. I beg of you, Governor, reconsider your decision.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: USDAgov via flickr

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