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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Flori... Floridamom96

Well done, Jenny. Well done. You mean that in most states it's perfectly legal to perform a surgical procedure where your only option in case of complication is to call 911? In the state of Florida a midwife cannot deliver babies without admitting privileges and an overseeing physician who also has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and they do not perform surgical procedures. I am shocked that abortions can legally be performed anywhere without the doctor being able to transfer a patient to the hospital and continue their care.

wamom223 wamom223

Pinkmani please, please educate yourself on how hard it is to adopt this country before you post about this again.  If we could fix the system we wouldn't have so many children in foster care.  There are so many wonderful people out there that want to be parents but have been denied for reasons that seem silly when you are willing to put them in foster care.  They will tell you you're to old but place a child in a foster care home with people the same age as you.  They will tell you your job isn't stable enough and give the child to someone they have to pay to take care of the child.  Not to mention the fact that a crack head birth mother can change her mind and they can take the child from you even when the mother should not have custody.  And the myth about parents only wanting brand new babies is ridiculous and its pretty gross you would perpetuate it. 

wamom223 wamom223

 I have to assume from your post that you have no idea what it is like to be a parent going through this experience as its obvious you have no idea what you are talking about.  Also it is so weird that you would ask a question and not wait for an answer and then gloat like you got the answer you were expecting, very weird.  Its so sad that women would rather fight for their right to kill their baby then fight for better adoption laws so we can get these children in some good homes.  But then again if you made it easier to adopt and we didn't have so many kids in foster care you would lose your biggest argument in favor of abortion.

dirti... dirtiekittie

in other words, the rate of unsafe, back-alley abortions in Mississippi is probably about to increase. in this day and age, it boggles my mind that we are still talking about a woman's right to choose. and just as there may be some women who use abortion as a form of birth control, i doubt the rates are as rampant as some of you seem to think. just because a woman chooses to have an abortion also doesn't mean it was some last minute, spur-of-the-moment decision to just "drive down to the local clinic". having an abortion is a decision someone lives with for the rest of their lives, and it is hardly ANY of your places to tell a woman why she is or isn't wrong for living HER life.  you can't judge unless you've walked a mile in their shoes. 

Autum... Autumnleaves87

Good job Mississippi!! Adding more and more unwanted babies into the welfare system and orphanages one law at a time!!

Gooooooooooooo small government!! (Not)

dirti... dirtiekittie

i'll just leave these here: 

Making abortion illegal or legal has no effect on the total number of abortions performed in the world. Making abortion legal dramatically reduces maternal morbidity and mortality.

Nearly half of all pregnancies among American women are unintended, and 4 in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. 22% of all pregnancies end in abortion.

The abortion rate among women living below the federal poverty level ($9,570.) is per women (below 100% of poverty) is nearly four times that of women above 200% of poverty (112 vs. 29 per 1000 women).


dirti... dirtiekittie


The decision to have an abortion is never simple. The reasons women provide for having an abortion underscores their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concerns for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner. Lack of money ranks very high. Many feel the responsible course of action is to wait until their situation is more suited to child rearing; 66% plan to have children when they are older and financially able to provide for a child and/or in a supportive relationship with a partner so their children can have two parents. Others wanted to get pregnant and developed serious medical problems, learned that the fetus had severe abnormalities, or experienced some other personal crisis. Each year, about 13,000 women have abortions because they became pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

lulou lulou

Uh-oh.  Mississippi already had horrid maternal death rates, infant mortality rates,  failing preemie birth record report cards,    Clearly the state goverment has their priorities in line!   Whlie their goal may be to end abortion, they are certainly not choosing life.

2boys... 2boysmama311

While I am pro-choice in regards to the abortion issue, I also want women to use their power of choice in other ways. If you are going to choose to have sex, use birth control of some form every single time, if you are going to choose to have multiple children with multiple men, then choose to find a way to support them and not rely on the government to do so. 

It is too bad that it seems as though safe, legal abortions will become hard to come by in Mississippi. It will not be impossible to go to the four states that border Mississippi to have one. 

IKnow... IKnow0101

The hospitals are denying privileges to doctors because of pressure and the threat of grants and donations being cut off.  Majority of doctors out of state are usually granted privileges to perform all types of medical procedures so for none of the hospitals to do so I'm assuming it's about abortions.  I'm personally pro- life but I find it hard to believe that this state is getting away with this.  You are going to find more abandon babies and women dying from infections from illegal abortions.  I don't think a person should have to travel thousands of miles and spend money that they don't have to just get this procedure done.  Also people should also talk about adoptions like it's the easiest in the world to do.  That's why a lot of American couples tend to adopt overseas due to the red tape here.

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