War on Women: Mississippi Attempts to Close Its Lone Abortion Clinic

Editor's Note: With 29 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on Michigan, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, VermontMassachusetts, Rhode IslandMaine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!

Mississippi

Where do I start? Mississippi is everyone’s favorite abortion-hating state to hate.

Mississippi requires parental consent (from both parents), in-person state-directed counseling and a 24-hour waiting period, limited public funding, limited insurance coverage for public health plans and limited sale on the health exchange for plans covering abortion. But more than that, the state is dangerously close to becoming the only state in the country without an abortion provider, thanks to stringent new guidelines requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Indeed, the only reason Mississippi still has its solitary clinic is because of a court order (as Think Progress points out, thanks to a judge appointed by former President George W. Bush). The last remaining clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and other allies sued to stay the law, which was supposed to take effect at the beginning of July, and keep the clinic open.

The law was intended to take effect at the beginning of July, but a federal court under U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan stopped the state from enforcing the law immediately. The judge extended his hold again a week later, with the proviso that in the meantime the clinic attempt to obtain admitting privileges for its two out-of-state OB/GYNs, attempts which had so far been unsuccessful.

If the physicians cannot gain admitting privileges in order to be in compliance with the law, the clinic will be forced to close, thus rendering the state law the kind of law the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against: an undue burden and substantial obstacle to women seeking abortion.

This sort of non-compliance doesn’t seem to bother Mississippi lawmakers all that much. They have been blatantly open about their intentions to shutter every last abortion provider in the state, with Governor Phil Bryant repeatedly stating his hopes for the state to be abortion-free. From a judicial standpoint, the Supreme Court’s ruling on undue burdens and obstacles is likely to keep the Jackson clinic open, but Mississippi politics make the state not a terribly woman-friendly place to be.