Clinic widens challenge of Mississippi abortion restrictions

MGN Online

Mississippi's only abortion clinic is expanding its challenge of a state law that bans abortion after 15 weeks.

Posted: Apr 9, 2018 11:17 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi's only abortion clinic is expanding its challenge of a state law that bans abortion after 15 weeks.

The clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, filed papers Monday asking a federal court to block state restrictions that have been the law for years, including a 24-hour waiting period that requires a woman to make two trips to the clinic — one for counseling and one to have the abortion.

The 15-week ban is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States, and the clinic sued the state hours after Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed it into law March 19. A federal judge put it on hold the next day. The clinic argues that the 15-week ban is unconstitutional because it prohibits abortion about eight weeks before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

Nancy Northup is president and CEO of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which represents the clinic. She said the Mississippi restrictions are about "shaming women" and reducing access to abortion.

"As the restrictions pile up and women face higher and higher barriers to the care that they need, young people, women of color, those who live in rural areas and low-income populations suffer the greatest harm," Northup said Monday in a conference call with reporters.

Other longstanding Mississippi restriction being challenged Monday are a requirement that all abortions must be done by a physician and the counseling mandate that the clinic says makes providers give "false, misleading and medically irrelevant information" to any woman seeking an abortion.

"These laws are designed for one purpose only, and that's to put us out of business as well as removing a woman's right to decide her future," Diane Derzis, who owns the Mississippi abortion clinic, said on the conference call.

Bryant said after signing the 15-week ban that the new law "protects maternal health and will further our efforts to make Mississippi the safest place in America for an unborn child."

The 15-week ban and responding challenge set up a confrontation sought by abortion opponents, who are hoping federal courts will ultimately prohibit abortions before a fetus is viable. Current federal law does not. Some legal experts have said a change in the law is unlikely unless the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court changes in a way that favors abortion opponents.

The Mississippi clinic performed 78 abortions in 2017 when the fetus was identified as being 15 weeks or older, the lawsuit says. That's out of about 2,500 abortions performed statewide, mostly at the clinic.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15523

Reported Deaths: 734
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds100625
Lauderdale73862
Madison72423
Scott65012
Neshoba64639
Jones62928
Forrest56438
DeSoto5427
Rankin4398
Holmes42928
Leake42712
Copiah3124
Jackson30813
Attala29817
Yazoo2814
Newton2714
Leflore26431
Lincoln26329
Harrison2587
Monroe25725
Oktibbeha23912
Lamar2385
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Wayne2041
Pike20311
Adams19915
Noxubee1866
Washington1787
Warren17310
Covington1652
Jasper1634
Bolivar16211
Lee1536
Smith15211
Kemper14411
Clarke14418
Lafayette1364
Chickasaw13512
Coahoma1254
Carroll11711
Winston1171
Marion1159
Clay1124
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Tate941
Grenada943
Yalobusha935
Hancock9111
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Montgomery851
Sunflower843
Union835
Marshall833
Jefferson Davis773
Tippah7311
Panola713
Webster692
Calhoun654
Amite641
Humphreys607
Walthall560
Tunica553
Prentiss533
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Pontotoc353
Quitman330
Tishomingo320
Stone300
Franklin292
Tallahatchie271
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene131
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17952

Reported Deaths: 630
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2239116
Jefferson1837102
Montgomery171040
Tuscaloosa78315
Marshall6939
Franklin5567
Lee54833
Shelby51720
Tallapoosa42765
Butler41118
Chambers35525
Walker3542
Elmore3548
Madison3394
Baldwin2909
Morgan2801
Dallas2723
Etowah25711
DeKalb2483
Lowndes24612
Coffee2361
Sumter2247
Autauga2214
Houston2204
Bullock2095
Pike2030
Colbert1842
Hale1739
Russell1710
Marengo1706
Barbour1671
Lauderdale1642
Calhoun1603
Choctaw1538
Wilcox1487
Clarke1442
Cullman1430
Randolph1277
St. Clair1231
Marion12211
Pickens1164
Dale1150
Talladega1135
Limestone1060
Chilton1011
Greene944
Winston900
Macon824
Henry802
Covington801
Jackson782
Crenshaw753
Bibb751
Washington706
Escambia633
Blount621
Lawrence500
Geneva430
Conecuh411
Coosa401
Monroe402
Perry390
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar260
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Unassigned00
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