Jackson Women's Health Organization
Mississippi's only remaining abortion clinic will likely soon be shut down. It was only a matter of time. The handwriting was on the wall as soon as Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed House Bill 1390
last spring. The bill was specifically designed to shut down the Jackson Women's Health Organization by requiring that its OB/GYNs performing abortions obtain admitting privileges at nearby area hospitals. The catch? Three of JWHO's four OB/GYNs fly in from out of state and no local Mississippi hospital will grant out-of-state physicians hospital privileges. JWHO has been the state's only clinic performing abortions since 2004. Sixteen years ago there were six clinics in the state, but they were shut down by the imposition of medically unnecessary regulations.
Operation Rescue (the nationwide forced-birther lobby that initiated the new law), the legislators who voted for it and the governor who signed it all have made clear their real concern is not for women's health but rather to demolish women's reproductive rights in Mississippi.
The clinic's owner, Diane Derzis, has been fighting the law unsuccessfully since it was signed. But JWHO missed a deadline Friday for coming into compliance. Although Derzis has filed to make permanent a temporary injunction against enforcing the law, there seems little chance she will succeed. Which means inspectors could arrive sometime soon. Robin Marty writes:
The inspection will be the starting point for the state to revoke the clinic's license, a process that will require letters of intention to be sent, a 30-day wait before an appeals hearing can occur, and administrative processes to be completed and then, of course, the blessing of the court, which will eventually be brought in to resolve whether or not closing the clinic altogether is a violation of undue burden on the women of Mississippi.
The state will argue no, and their explanation paints a detailed portrait of what life was like in abortion-hostile states before Roe became law, and where the anti-choice movement hopes the state will eventually be again if Roe is overturned.
State attorneys argued in their motion
to dismiss the injunction that the clinic isn't the only place where women can obtain abortions in Mississippi. Physicians who perform fewer than 10 a month in their offices are not regulated, and women can obtain an abortion at a hospital, the motion states.
As Marty points out, the clinic performed 2,251 of the 2,297 abortions in the state in 2010. That means some OB/GYNs would have to begin performing the procedure 10 times each month at a time when there is a shortage of such specialists. Women without insurance have trouble finding a primary care physician much less a busy OB/GYN to see them. Many OB/GYNs, facing peer pressure and a full schedule, are reluctant to perform abortions even if they are not ideologically opposed to them. Demonstrating the sheer hypocrisy of the new law, physicians who perform abortions in their offices do not need hospital admitting privileges.
The crystal clear objective is not health related but to make getting an abortion as troublesome as possible. That means, as usual, enforcing the class war. Affluent women will always be able to obtain an abortion, a procedure that the Supreme Court has considered legal for 40 years and that the forced-birthers have been intent on curtailing for 39-and-a-half years. Poor women will be forced to other, often extreme solutions.
When the Jackson clinic closes, it won't end abortions, of course. History proves that women, poor or wealthy, will obtain them. They will attempt it on themselves or find a quack or someone skilled to meet their needs for free or a price. We know this means dead women, maimed women, sterilized women. The crusaders don't care one bit. And they will do whatever they can to accomplish what they're on the verge of doing in Mississippi in every state of the union. Yet some people who should know better still think the "war on women" is hyperventilation.