The God Discussion reported on 29 November 2013 about the sole abortion clinic in Jackson, Mississippi that was under threat of being legislatively shut down. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the only clinic in the entire state of Mississippi that is authorized to provide abortion services, and GOP lawmakers were intent on shuttering it by changing requirements for abortion providers in such a way that it would be virtually impossible for the center to stay open.
In a nutshell, the wording involved physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital, and none of the seven area hospitals have granted them. The clinic was technically out of compliance as of 31 January 2013, but The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a motion that requested the implementation of the law to be ceased, stating it will force the closure of the clinic and offer no access to abortion in the entire state.
The President and CEO of the center, Nancy Northrup, as stating,
“Mississippi women have the same constitutional rights as any other women in the United States. They deserve far better than to be forced to travel hundreds of miles to another state to get a safe, legal medical procedure.”
The clinic received a warning from the state last Friday, but under a state administrative procedures law, Jackson Women's will remain operating until a hearing, which can be more than a month from now.
Now, Alabama has jumped into the fray with similar legislation. Republican lawmakers in Alabama took major steps today to a similar goal as legislators in Mississippi. There are currently five abortion clinics in Alabama, but that could change.
The GOP-controlled House Health Committee passed what is quizzically called the “Women’s Health and Safety Act,” also known as HB57, sponsored by Republican Mary Sue McClurkin.
A vote before the full legislature is expected within days. If the bill passes, the requirements that abortion clinics have a physician with hospital privileges in the same area that a clinic uses abortion-inducing drugs present for all abortion services could end the access to abortion for many women in the state.
According to a story filed by ThinkProgress, the bill is a 'smokescreen' that is based on what they report as a template that was created by 'Americans United for Life,' a pro-life organization.
Gloria Gray, the Director of the West Alabama Women's Health Center was cited as stating,
“This bill targets regulatory standards of architectural structure, equipment and staffing that are totally unnecessary and cannot be met by the clinics. How does requiring a six-foot hallway make it safer for a woman to have an abortion?”
It's not just Alabama and Mississippi, but the report also states that in Tennessee, an abortion clinic that had been open for almost forty years was forced out of business due to a bill that is similar to the ones cited in this story.
For more information, commentary and relevant links, please read the rest of the story at ThinkProgress.