Newly-Passed Abortion Clinic Bill Puts Mississippi’s Sole Abortion Provider in Danger

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 22:33 EDT
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War On Women Poster via PoliticalLoudmouth.com
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Women in Mississippi may not have access to any in-state abortion clinics once Governor Phil Bryant signs into law HB 1390. The bill requires that all physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and be board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology.  While this seems like a common sense rule designed to ensure that the doctors who perform abortions have the proper qualifications, in reality, it’s not. Shocking, I know.

Hospitals have discretion when it comes to granting admitting privileges, most of the doctors who perform abortions at the Jackson Women’s Health live out-of-state, and local hospitals only grant admitting privileges to local doctors.

A recent report in iVillage notes that Mississippi has a de facto ban on abortion due to lack of access. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 99 percent of counties in Mississippi do not have an abortion provider. HB 1390 will virtually ensure that Mississippi has no abortion providers at all.

The Mississippi legislature has passed a bill that will require any doctor performing abortions in the state to be a board-certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. The change could make staffing the state’s sole abortion clinic very difficult, since most of the doctors who practice at Jackson Women’s Health live out-of-state and admitting privileges at the nearest hospital are given only to local physicians.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant is expected to sign the bill into law within days.

Sen. Dean Kirby (R-Pearl) is the chairman of the public health committee that approved the bill. He says the measure is intended to make abortion as safe as possible.

“This doesn’t make any reference as to whether abortions are legal or illegal in Mississippi. None at all. It just says you will be a board certified OB-GYN and have an admitting hospital,” Kirby said.

The clinic currently has a patient transfer agreement with a local hospital, according to Diane Derzis, one of the owners of Jackson Women’s Health.

Derzis is decrying the bill as harassment and a waste of Mississippi taxpayer dollars. “I think it’s very sad when Mississippi has the ranking that it does as one of the poorest states in the nation, if not the poorest, highest in maternal mortality, that we are worried about passing laws that have no bearing on women’s health,” Derzis said. “Each year Mississippi taxpayers are having their money wasted with these guys … passing this kind of legislation which has nothing to do with women’s health”

Derzis would not say which hospital the clinic has the transfer agreement.

“Why would I make them a target?” Derzis said. “We’re already a target. My doctors are stalked, my doctors receive wanted posters, my doctors have a target on their backs. So I’m certainly not going to help them put that on there.”

Derzis said one of the clinic’s doctors already has admitting privileges and that all of her doctors are board-certified OB-GYNS.

“We’re going to be fighting to the very end,” she said.

Crappy news out of Mississippi on the heels of yesterday’s good news.

The war on women marches on. Vote ‘em out. It’s the only way — aside from arming our uteri with handguns and standing our ground.

[via Ms. Magazine]

ABL aka Angry Black Lady aka Imani Gandy is a recovering attorney with a burning love of fire and perfectly-constructed sentences. The “anger” portion of her moniker stems not from her displeasure at the hellscape that American politics has become, but rather is a symptom of the pituitary tumor which has been indefinitely detained in her brain since 2006. When she’s not pointing out that people are wrong on the Internet – or writing for Balloon Juice, The Grio, The Team Uterati Wiki Project, or RH Reality Check -- she likes long sits on the beach. Also, she thinks gravity is a real downer. You can follow her on Twitter at @AngryBlackLady.
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