State’s only abortion clinic to stay open

Diane Derzis

JACKSON – (CNN) A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Sunday that will allow the only abortion clinic operating in Mississippi to stay open — for now.

 filed for the action in response to a new state law that would require a clinic’s abortion providers to be certified OB/GYN practitioners, and for those physicians to all have privileges at an area hospital. The law, which took effect Sunday, puts the clinic at risk, as all its doctors do not have such privileges.

The judge’s order blocks enforcement of the law at least until the next hearing on the matter, which is scheduled for July 11.

“I’m jubilant,” said Diane Derzis, clinic owner and president. “It means the constitutional rights of women to make their decision, for the time being, is in place.”

Officials at the Jackson clinic say they are working to comply with the law. All of its doctors are OB/GYNs who travel in from other states. But only one can practice at a local hospital.

They say they are trying to gain privileges at Jackson-area hospitals, but that the cumbersome process and red tape forced them to file for a reprieve.

State Rep. Sam Mims, who sponsored the legislation, said “we will speak with our attorneys regarding our game plan,” in response to the judge’s order Sunday.

Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law in April after the Republican-dominated legislature overwhelmingly passed it.

Mississippi is one of the toughest states on the abortion-rights movement. The state has laws requiring a 24-hour waiting period, as well as parental consent if the patient seeking an abortion is a minor.

Mims previously told CNN the intent behind the legislation was to ensure that women undergoing abortions are receiving care from a certified, professional physician.

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