Target: Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood
Goal: Ask Mississippi lawmakers to stop the closing of the state’s last remaining abortion clinic
The only remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi faces the threat of being closed, after the clinic’s failure to comply with a 2012 state law requiring abortion-providing physicians to acquire hospital-admitting privileges. The state’s Health Department says they will not close the clinic right away, but will set an inspection at a later date. If the Department orders a shutdown, the clinic will have the option to appeal.
The law passed in 2012 mandates that anyone performing abortions in a clinic to be an ob-gyn with the ability to admit patients to a nearby hospital where the abortions are performed. The clinic filed a lawsuit last summer in response to the legislation. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III gave the facility time to try to comply with the law, blocking any criminal or civil penalties while the clinic tried to do so. The clinic cited that admitting privileges can be difficult to obtain. Some hospitals won’t issue privileges to out-of-state physicians, while hospitals affiliated with religious groups often will not associate with anyone who does elective abortions.
Republican Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant says in reference to the state’s only abortion clinic that “of course” his goal is to “shut it down.”
Clinic administrator Diane Derzis said every Jackson-area hospital where the clinic applied for privileges rejected their request. One of the clinic’s four physicians has admitting privileges, but the clinic said in court papers that he does little work at the clinic and he had obtained privileges before the new law took effect last July. The other three don’t have privileges.
A 2011 analysis by the Guttmacher Institute found that Mississippi, one of the most conservative states in the US, had the highest rate of unplanned pregnancies in the country, and some of the lowest educational achievement.
Ask Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to keep this important clinic open.
Dear Mr. Hood,
We understand that the people of Mississippi had their voices heard in 2012, but to close the state’s only clinic that offers abortion services to women is unfair and extreme. Evidence shows that strict abortion laws have had negative consequences for women in your state. Mississippi lags far behind in educational achievement and has very high rates of unplanned pregnancies. It is already notably difficult for women in Mississippi to get an abortion. Don’t completely deny women the option by closing this clinic.
You must keep this clinic open to give the women of Mississippi the right to health services provided in other states by federal law. Please reconsider closing the clinic, for the wellbeing of the women of your state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: US Government MS State Seal