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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: 61125

Reported Deaths: 1711
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds5269106
DeSoto332627
Madison229756
Harrison215232
Rankin214628
Jackson199434
Jones177457
Forrest164053
Washington149232
Lauderdale132988
Lee123930
Neshoba119788
Lamar112112
Oktibbeha105435
Lowndes98932
Warren96427
Scott95517
Bolivar94832
Copiah91724
Panola91211
Sunflower90822
Lafayette88111
Holmes84747
Leflore84059
Pike83232
Grenada81320
Yazoo78611
Leake76825
Lincoln74540
Pontotoc7377
Wayne73321
Simpson71227
Monroe70250
Coahoma66310
Tate65023
Marion60118
Covington58811
Adams58425
Marshall5718
Winston57115
George5475
Union53113
Newton51611
Attala49824
Tallahatchie49310
Pearl River48536
Walthall45318
Chickasaw43819
Noxubee41910
Claiborne40013
Smith38013
Calhoun3788
Jasper3768
Clay37013
Alcorn3574
Prentiss3426
Hancock33614
Tishomingo3204
Lawrence3135
Tippah31212
Yalobusha31210
Itawamba30710
Clarke30025
Montgomery2933
Tunica2786
Humphreys27111
Carroll24511
Greene22611
Quitman2251
Kemper22315
Perry2227
Amite2105
Jefferson Davis2026
Webster19912
Jefferson1936
Wilkinson18712
Sharkey1801
Stone1523
Choctaw1274
Benton1250
Franklin1162
Issaquena211
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 90890

Reported Deaths: 1611
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson11859225
Mobile9086191
Montgomery6249143
Madison501425
Tuscaloosa397463
Baldwin321023
Shelby305032
Marshall296630
Unassigned273453
Lee250540
Morgan222315
Etowah193026
DeKalb170113
Elmore160237
Calhoun15609
Walker147063
Houston131912
Dallas128823
Russell12331
St. Clair121712
Franklin119620
Limestone119613
Cullman114111
Colbert109312
Lauderdale107112
Autauga102420
Escambia97915
Talladega91813
Jackson8283
Chambers82138
Tallapoosa81478
Dale78520
Butler75235
Blount7363
Chilton7106
Coffee7095
Covington70920
Pike6607
Barbour5635
Lowndes55224
Marion54224
Marengo52014
Clarke4869
Hale45926
Bullock43811
Perry4294
Winston42911
Wilcox4059
Monroe3914
Randolph38810
Bibb3743
Conecuh37310
Pickens3679
Sumter36118
Lawrence3100
Washington31011
Macon30913
Crenshaw2863
Choctaw27412
Henry2453
Cherokee2427
Greene24211
Geneva2320
Clay2175
Lamar1982
Fayette1745
Cleburne1211
Coosa922
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