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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.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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