Closing Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic Should Make Women Think More About 'Choice'

This Just In 92

Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic is in danger of being shut down. Thanks to a law passed last spring, doctors are now required to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital in order to perform abortions. Currently, only one of the three doctors working at Jackson Women’s Health Organization has such privileges.

The state health department granted the clinic six months to become compliant with the law. The deadline is January 11, 2013, and it looks like there’s no chance they’ll be successful. All seven nearby hospitals have denied admitting privileges to the other two doctors, who live out-of-state, according to a New York Times article published last July.

The clinic plans to stay open and operate illegally.

Mississippi is not the only state that has such laws regarding health care clinics, but it is one of the few. However, combined with the culture of the state regarding abortion, it may be the lone state that manages to get abortion shut down within its borders. The hospitals that allowed the physicians to even apply (two didn’t) turned down their applications “because of hospital policies concerning abortion and because of their concern about the effect on relationships in the community of granting privileges to the doctors.”

The state’s governor, Phil Bryant, said upon the passage of the law, “Today you see the first step in a movement to do what we campaigned on ... to try to end abortion in Mississippi.”

Does this violate Roe vs. Wade? Not exactly. That case made abortion legal across all 50 states, but it did not mandate it under any and all circumstances. Abortion is still perfectly legal in Mississippi, and of course doctors in hospitals will still perform them when medically necessary. When it’s save the life of the mother or they both die, I can’t imagine a single physician that wouldn’t do just that. Something about “first do no harm.”

Women will also be able to cross state lines to terminate their pregnancies. Yes, it makes it harder to get an abortion. Call me crazy, but I believe that making the decision to end the life of your unborn child should be a tough one. By having to make bigger plans than going down the street to the local clinic, maybe women will think more carefully about their choices. Maybe, just maybe, the absence of easy abortions will make a teenager think twice about having sex.

If abortion activists feel strongly enough that abortions should be readily available in Mississippi, they are welcome to open their own hospital in the state. The law doesn’t say anything about outlawing abortions, only that doctors performing medical procedures have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Abortions are still legal in Mississippi. Now they’ll be safe and rare, too.

Do you think this violates a woman’s right to choose?

Image via AnyaLogic/Flickr

abortion, feminism, health care, in the news, law, women's issues


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Erin Kull

So when are they opening their state run orphanages?

nonmember avatar Amy

You are seriously the devil.

B1Bomber B1Bomber

It's kind of mind boggling to me that any doctor would ever perform a surgery like abortion without easy access to hospital facilities.

wamom223 wamom223

Since this whole thing started it seems to come down to not having enough doctors in the state of Mississippi that want to do abortions.  I guess calling it a medical procedure doesn't make every doctor want to perform these and if it was a just a simple medical procedure wouldn't every doctor be down with them?  It seems to me like Mississippi is a Pro-life state and I don't know that the federal government can change that.  If this is a problem for the people of Mississippi I'm sure there will be consequences in the next election.  I don't think this violates a woman's right to choose as we can't force doctors to do procedures they don't want to do.  Women that still want abortions will have to travel for them but Roe vs. Wade said nothing about every state having to provide clinics to do abortions.

wamom223 wamom223

B1Bomber-I agree.  Its something I've thought about a lot since this story came out.  Abortions can go wrong just like any other medical procedure.

Doomy234 Doomy234

I agree with you, Jenny. Women should have to think about it when it is not medically necessary. It shouldnt be you wake up one morning pregnant and decide "meh, I dont think I want it" then drive to the clinic around the corner for an abortion. If you dont want it, please PLEASE consider adoption, someone out there wants that baby.

Of course I think that if a woman really wants an abortion, she can have one. But really, it shouldnt be an instant thought of I dont want it and then throwing it in the trash. Thats what they do after all, vacuum that baby out and toss it in a medical waste trashcan.

Miriam Kennedy

"Abortions are still legal in Mississippi. Now they’ll be safe and rare, too. " Good point. That's what we all want isn't it? At last we've found some common ground. 

lulou lulou

Too bad  Mississippi doesnt concentrate more on being a pro-child state with their bottom ranking education system  and childhood obestiy epidemic.

PonyC... PonyChaser

For the love of.... taking a Tylenol can have serious medical repercussions if you don't know you're allergic. An abortion, either via pill or through a more invasive surgical procedure has the potential to be life-threatening. Requiring doctors to be able to get their patients into a hospital quickly and safely makes perfect sense to me.

No, it does not violate a woman's "choice". She has choices all the way along... should I have sex? Am I protected? Might that protection fail? Am I ready for the result if it does fail? At any time, she can say, no, I'm not going to have sex until I'm ready for it. Abortion is not the only "choice" available to women.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

Doomy234, that's where you're wrong! You don't wake up and say "Meh, I don't think I want it". 9 times out of 10 she is having an abortion because she can't support the child. (Emotionally and/or financially) Adoption? That's a load of bullshit. Too many kids sit in foster care or orphanages waiting to be adopted, and by the time they are toddlers, they most likely won't be adopted because those that adopt want babies.

Let me ask you this: Do you know more parents that have adopted or those who have carried the child themselves or via surrogate? EXACTLY!

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