Jackson, Mississippi — The last remaining abortion facility in Mississippi has been issued a notice by the state health department that it intends to close the facility for its failure to comply with the law.
As previously reported, last year, legislators in the state enacted a law requiring abortionists to have board certification and obtain hospital admitting privileges. The latter requirement, which allows abortionists to send injured women to local hospitals for further treatment, was said to serve as a safeguard to protect women that need critical medical care.
After the bill was signed into law, Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the last abortion facility in the state, filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the requirements. During a hearing last July, the facility explained in court that it had been unsuccessful in obtaining admitting privileges, and was granted six months of additional time to comply with the law under the direction of federal judge Daniel Jordan.
Jackson Women’s Health Organization then had until January 11th to comply, but missed the deadline as none of the area hospitals wanted to assist the facility.
On January 16th, the Mississippi Health Department visited the location to perform an inspection. It found that none of the three abortionists that work at Jackson Women’s Health Organization, all of which reside in other states, obtained admitting privileges. It is noted that some hospitals prefer not to issue privileges to out-of-state doctors, but administrator Diane Derzis said that many of the local hospitals indicated that they did not want to partner with an abortion facility.
“They were clear that they didn’t deal with abortion and they didn’t want the internal or the external pressure of dealing with it,” she said.
Yesterday, Jackson Women’s Health Organization received a report following the inspection, which included notification that the health department intends on closing the facility. However, the location is allowed to remain open while a hearing about the matter moves ahead, which could be held in another month or so.
In addition to finding that Jackson Women’s Health Organization was unable to obtain admitting privileges, the Mississippi Health Department also noted on its report that the location had too few parking spaces as state law requires that abortion facilities be “located in an attractive setting with sufficient parking space provided.” Jackson Women’s Health Organization has room for less than 20 cars. Therefore, the health department ordered administrators at the facility to present a plan within ten days outlining how they intend to increase parking space in order to comply with state law.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has repeatedly stated that he wants to see the location permanently closed.
“My goal, of course, is to shut it down,” Bryant candidly affirmed to reporters. “Now, we’ll follow the laws. The bill is in the courts now, related to the physicians and their association with a hospital. But, certainly, if I had the power to do so legally, I’d do so tomorrow.”
Pro-life Christians throughout the state and across the country have also been working to close the facility — but not without opposition. As previously reported, three Christians — including a minor — were incapacitated this week after a security guard at Jackson Women’s Health Organization maced or pepper-sprayed them as they stood on the public sidewalk. Cal Zastrow, who was hit directly in the mouth, had been singing a hymn.
“It’s nothing compared to what they do to the babies,” he told Christian News Network.