Federal U.S. judge's ruling allows Mississippi's only abortion clinic to remain open—for now
Proving there's at least one sane lawmaker in the United States, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Jordan has continued to block a law that would see Mississippi's sole abortion provider close its doors.
On July 1, House Bill 1390 came into effect, which requires all abortion providers in Mississippi be certified obstetrician/gynecologists with privileges at local hospitals. On the same day, Jordan issued a temporary restraining order, allowing the clinic to stay open.
At the time, Jordan noted, "In this case, plaintiffs have offered evidence—including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers--that the act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi....They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted." Today's ruling upholds the previous order.
Currently, the doctors at Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only facility authorized to provide abortions in a state of almost three million people (presumably some of whom are women who need access to safe abortions) are primarily from out of state; only one has privileges at a local hospital.
While the clinic argues that the law is not medically necessary (after all, the doctors are certified to practice), the facility's doctors have applied to receive privileges at seven hospitals in Mississippi; none have granted the request so far.
If the clinic is forced to close, Mississippi women would have to travel to either Louisiana, Tennessee, or Alabama to terminate their pregnancies.
Currently, 31 percent of Mississippi children live below the federal poverty line, a figure 10 percent higher than the U.S.'s national child poverty average (21 percent). Mississippi has the highest teen birth rate in the U.S. (55 births per 1,000 girls), possibly due to the state's standard of abstinence-only education—oh, and maybe because women seeking abortions can't get them.
Paternalistic Republican governor Phil Bryant supports the restrictive, draconian law, saying he believes it will make his state "abortion-free".
News flash, buddy: severly limiting womens' access to medically supervised abortions doesn't make abortions magically disappear. It only means women seeking abortions will go to greater, more dangerous lengths to attain them—and it means more women will likely die trying to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
But as we all know, the rights of a fully grown adult female are never as important as the "rights" of a fetus. At least that's how it works in Republicanland.
Follow perennial vagina-haver Miranda Nelson on Twitter.