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Mississippi's last abortion clinic to remain open - for the time being

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A federal judge has temporarily blocked Mississippi from revoking the license of the state's last  abortion clinic. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III has extended an injunction he issued previously, which blocks the state from closing the clinic while it tries to fulfill a 2012 state law.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The judge's ruling comes three days before the state Department of Health was scheduled to hold a license revocation hearing for the clinic over its acknowledged inability to obtain admitting privileges. The administrative hearing has since been cancelled.

Current law requires all OB-GYNs who do abortions at Jackson Women's Health Organization to have privileges to admit patients to a local hospital.That is commonplace with all serious surgical procedures.

The judge's ruling says the state cannot close the clinic while it still has a federal lawsuit pending to challenge the 2012 law. A trial date has not been set.

The Department of Health notified the clinic in January that it intended to revoke the clinic's license. The clinic was allowed to stay open as it awaited this week's hearing.

"While the women of Mississippi may be able to breathe a collective sigh of relief today, this fight is far from over," said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. She opposes the Right to Life of children in the womb. "We will continue our work to see this underhanded attempt to ban abortions in Mississippi struck down as a violation of women's constitutional reproductive rights."

Of course, her words refer to only those women who promote the taking of innocent human life by voluntary abortion. Women who respect the Right to Life of our youngest neighbors in the womb, and are concerned for the health of the mothers, were at the forefront of the effort to close down this place calling itself a clinic. They know what really happens under its roof. Their work is not over and they have redoubled their efforts. 

Admitting privileges are often difficult to obtain for those who practice abortion. Some hospitals won't issue them to out-of-state physicians, while hospitals which recognize the Right to Life of the child in the womb do not want elective abortions in the State. Others are concerned that abortion is the only major surgical procedure which does not require the practitioner to hold admitting privileges and are dedicated to seeing that the law goes into effect for the safety of the mothers.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed a similar requirement last week into law for physicians who work at abortion clinics in his state.

Clinic owner Diane Derzis told reporters that Jackson Women's Health Organization has been unable to get the privileges at any of the Jackson-area hospitals where it applied. She claims it is because hospital administrators don't want Pro-Life protesters outside their facilities. Of course, she has an interest in seeing the clinic stay open as well. The fact is the people of the State do not want abortions being done. they are a part of a growing trend.   

During this ruling patients can be transferred from the clinic to a hospital emergency room, if needed. The clinic has said the customary practice is for a hospital to remain in contact with the physician who transferred the patient to the emergency room, regardless of whether that doctor has admitting privileges at the hospital.

Two miles north of the state Capitol building, the abortion facility is in a trendy neighborhood with restaurants, art galleries and clothing stores. As if to call attention to itself, the clinic was painted cherry pink earlier this year, in startling contrast to the faded mauve it sported the previous year.

Defenders of the Right to Life of the children in the womb threatened by abortion prayed, sang hymns and used a microphone to call out to women who headed inside for state-mandated counseling earlier this week to change their minds. A longstanding state law requires women to be fully informed of what occurs in an abortion and told of alternatives at least 24 hours before an abortion can be done on a woman.

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