Lone Mississippi abortion clinic seeks legal path to reopen


Lawyers for Mississippi’s only abortion clinic filed papers Thursday asking the state Supreme Court to block a new law that bans most abortions and allow the clinic to reopen next week.

The clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is at the center of the recent US Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade and removed women’s constitutional protection for abortion across the country.

A Mississippi law that took effect Thursday bans most abortions, and the clinic performed its last procedures Wednesday. The clinic’s lawyers make the same arguments that a trial judge rejected Tuesday when the clinic tried to block the law from going into effect. They said that in 1998, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the state constitution has a right to privacy that includes abortion.

“In the absence of relief, Mississippians will continue to be denied their rights to privacy and bodily autonomy under the Mississippi Constitution as the state forces them to bear the risks of pregnancy and childbearing against their will.” your will,” clinic attorney Rob McDuff wrote.

It was not immediately clear when the conservative state Supreme Court would consider the appeal.

Diane Derzis, owner of the Mississippi clinic, told The Associated Press that she will have staff available to reopen the facility if the state Supreme Court allows it.

“I’m not hopeful, but there’s always a chance,” Derzis said Thursday.

As for the legal filing and the effort to stay open, he said, “All of us needed to know that we exhausted all possibilities.”

The Mississippi clinic is better known as the Pink House due to its bright paint. Some staff members were inside Thursday to run paperwork and follow-up appointments for some patients. About 30 abortion opponents held a Christian worship service on a street next to the clinic.

“No more killing of innocent children here,” said Dr. Coleman Boyd, a doctor who has frequently protested outside the clinic. “Christ is exalted. The shedding of innocent blood in this building is done.”

Several of the abortion opponents yelled at Dr. Cheryl Hamlin when she arrived. Hamlin is an OB/GYN who has traveled from Boston for the past five years to perform abortions in Mississippi. She crossed the clinic parking lot and pointed a finger at anti-abortion protester John Busby, who urged her to repent.

“You guys are idiots,” Hamlin said. “You don’t care. You’re going to hell. You. You’re going to burn in hell. I’m so sick of you.”

As Hamlin walked away, Busby called after her, “You’re going to die in your sin, Cheryl, unless you repent of Jesus Christ.”

Also Thursday, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic filed a state lawsuit seeking to block a trigger law banning abortion following the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling of 1973.

The Red River Women’s Clinic argues that the ban violates the rights to life, security and happiness guaranteed by the state constitution that protects the right to abortion. He said the ban also infringes on the right to liberty because it “deprives patients of the ability to control decisions about their families and their health.”

The North Dakota lawsuit is just the latest litigation targeting restrictions on abortions after the Supreme Court said the procedure was no longer protected by the US Constitution.

The lawsuit also challenges Attorney General Drew Wrigley’s statement that the ban would go into effect on July 28. The clinic argued that the Supreme Court issued its opinion on June 24 but has not yet delivered its ruling, which it said is a necessary step to trigger the state ban. . The clinic said the high court usually takes that step at least 25 days after the opinion.

In certifying the closing date, Wrigley said there is “no ambiguity” in the Supreme Court’s decision. He said Thursday that his office is “carefully reviewing and evaluating” the complaint, but that he would not comment further until his response is filed.

Tammi Kromenaker, owner and operator of the Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo, said the facility would move across the river to Moorhead, Minnesota, if necessary, but would explore all legal options to remain open in North Dakota.

“We have faced relentless attacks from North Dakota lawmakers who have long wanted us gone,” Kromenaker said in announcing the lawsuit. “But we will fight this draconian ban like the other outrageous bans and restrictions that preceded it.”

“In the meantime, we will keep our doors open to provide abortion services to patients who need us,” he said.

Also Thursday, national leaders advocating for abortion access were in South Carolina Thursday when a committee considering a bill “to ban abortions” met for the first time to hear public testimony.

While a South Carolina law banning abortion around six weeks pregnant went into effect June 27, lawmakers are expected to return for a special session to further restrict the procedure.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson arrived at the statehouse a day after an appearance in North Carolina, where Democratic Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order protecting abortion patients from extradition. Out of state. He praised North Carolina as an abortion “haven” and condemned the efforts of South Carolina lawmakers.

“All of these laws are designed to create chaos and confusion for people seeking access to care,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Alexis McGill Johnson told The Associated Press.


Dave Kolpack reported from Fargo, North Dakota, and James Pollard reported from Columbia, South Carolina.

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