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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: 503322

Reported Deaths: 10057
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34400541
DeSoto32318411
Hinds32074631
Jackson24551386
Rankin22103391
Lee15657235
Madison14662281
Jones13894243
Forrest13506253
Lauderdale12037318
Lowndes11091192
Lamar10531138
Pearl River9557238
Lafayette8581140
Hancock7751130
Washington7458161
Oktibbeha7152133
Monroe6796178
Warren6752176
Pontotoc6736104
Neshoba6656206
Panola6572131
Marshall6494135
Bolivar6331150
Union607794
Pike5849154
Alcorn5691102
Lincoln5468135
George502979
Scott474198
Tippah472481
Prentiss471582
Leflore4676144
Itawamba4651105
Tate4632111
Adams4617120
Copiah450092
Simpson4458116
Yazoo445388
Wayne440772
Covington429894
Sunflower4246105
Marion4236108
Coahoma4178108
Leake409888
Newton383179
Grenada3731108
Tishomingo361592
Stone360664
Jasper336565
Attala335290
Winston315391
Clay309077
Chickasaw302367
Clarke295894
Calhoun279947
Holmes268788
Smith266550
Yalobusha237247
Tallahatchie228752
Greene220649
Walthall219364
Lawrence213640
Perry206456
Amite206056
Webster203446
Noxubee186940
Montgomery179757
Jefferson Davis172243
Carroll169639
Tunica160139
Benton149439
Kemper142141
Choctaw134627
Claiborne132838
Humphreys129738
Franklin120728
Quitman106828
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson95934
Sharkey64220
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 821255

Reported Deaths: 15424
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1149051930
Mobile726651340
Madison52400699
Shelby37685350
Baldwin37285552
Tuscaloosa35147613
Montgomery34130740
Lee23556246
Calhoun22255490
Morgan21037378
Etowah19844500
Marshall18390304
Houston17406412
St. Clair16091339
Cullman15493293
Limestone15402199
Elmore15292286
Lauderdale14366295
Talladega13870283
DeKalb12670261
Walker11255370
Blount10227176
Autauga10061148
Jackson9909185
Coffee9215191
Dale8912186
Colbert8907201
Tallapoosa7103198
Escambia6782134
Covington6724183
Chilton6658162
Russell637659
Franklin5992105
Chambers5615142
Marion5016127
Dallas5013202
Pike4799106
Clarke477284
Geneva4577127
Winston4538103
Lawrence4352117
Bibb425686
Barbour358376
Marengo338390
Monroe332064
Randolph330264
Butler328596
Pickens317384
Henry313166
Hale311988
Cherokee303260
Fayette294580
Washington251651
Cleburne247960
Clay245568
Crenshaw245475
Macon235563
Lamar225747
Conecuh186654
Coosa180940
Lowndes175764
Wilcox169139
Bullock151844
Perry139240
Sumter133338
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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