Mississippi’s Lone Abortion Clinic Can Stay Open, For Now

David P. Smith/Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


On Sunday, a federal judge in Mississippi issued a temporary restraining order blocking the state from enforcing new regulations on abortion clinics. The ruling will allow the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic, to stay open for now.

The restraining order temporarily blocks a new law requiring doctors at the Jackson clinic to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in order to continue performing abortions. CNN reports:

The judge’s order blocks enforcement of the law at least until the next hearing on the matter, which is scheduled for July 11.

“I’m jubilant,” said Diane Derzis, clinic owner and president. “It means the constitutional rights of women to make their decision, for the time being, is in place.”

The law in question is one of several types of regulations that abortion-rights advocates often refer to as “TRAP laws,” short for “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers.” These are laws that only apply to abortion clinics and are designed to make it difficult for them to continue operating.

Although the Mississippi law might not seem like a big deal on its face, it threatened to make it impossible for women in Mississippi to obtain a safe, legal abortion. Only in-state doctors can get admitting privileges at the hospitals near the Jackson clinic, but most of the doctors who work at the clinic commute from out of state. Even if they moved to Mississippi, the doctors at the Jackson clinic would also have to send a certain number of patients to the hospital each month—and obstetricians/gynecologists working at a family planning clinic don’t usually have any reason to admit a woman to the hospital. The Jackson clinic already has a patient-transfer agreement with a local hospital for the (very rare) cases in which there’s some sort of complication that requires a woman to be admitted to a hospital.

In general, getting hospital admitting privileges can be difficult for abortion doctors, because it often means they have take on hospital rounds or be otherwise available for the hospital. And many hospitals, including two out of the three in the Jackson area, are affiliated with religious organizations, which don’t usually have much interest in helping a doctor who provides abortions. 

At least eight states have a law like the one in Mississippi, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But although lawmakers in other states often claim these bills as efforts to ensure that women seeking abortions are able to get them in a safe place, Mississippi lawmakers weren’t shy about declaring that their goal was to end abortion in the state.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, which is representing the Jackson clinic in court, issued a statement on Sunday evening cheering the latest development, but noted that the “battle is far from over,” since they will be back in court on July 11 seeking a permanent injunction against the law.

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

LET’S TALK ABOUT OPTIMISM FOR A CHANGE

Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

Mother Jones did. We just merged with the Center for Investigative Reporting, bringing the radio show Reveal, the documentary film team CIR Studios, and Mother Jones together as one bigger, bolder investigative journalism nonprofit.

And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate