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Mississippi may become the first abortion-free state

RightMarch January 28, 2013

Emily Le Coz at the Jackson Clarion Ledger reports:

Mississippi’s sole abortion clinic is out of compliance with the state law and its license will be revoked, according to a letter the clinic received Friday from the state Department of Health.

The letter confirms findings from a Jan. 16 inspection of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization during which health department officials noted some of the clinic’s physicians lack hospital admitting privleges.

A state law passed last year mandates that all abortion providers at a clinic have hospital admitting privileges. Despite a months-long effort to comply, the clinic wasn’t able to do so.

“This is what we expected,” said clinic owner Diane Dersiz, who said the clinic will request an administrative hearing to fight its license revokation.

It has 10 calendar days to make the request to the Department of Health. Afterward, the department has 30 calendar days in which to set a hearing, said department spokeswoman Liz Sharlot.

The hearing will be open to the public and conducted by a hearing officer appointed by the department. The officer may or may not issue an immediate decision, Sharlot said.

If the decision results in license revocation, the clinic then can appeal to the chancery court.

In the meantime, attorneys for the Jackson Women’s Health Organization want the federal court to issue a temporary injunction to block the law’s enforcement while it argues its constitutionality. U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan has yet to rule on that request.

Without an injunction, the clinic could be forced to close sometime in March after having exhausted all other options, according to the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which is litigating the case on its behalf.


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