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New requirements are for the best

In the 2012 Regular Session the Mississippi Legislature passed a bill that amended a section of the Mississippi Code that deals with abortions. The new language of the law that was approved by Gov. Phil Bryant requires physicians that are performing abortions to be board certified or eligible to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and must have admitting and staffing privileges at a local hospital. Also, a trained staff member in CPR must be present during all operating hours.
Critics of the language argue that this is nothing more than a Republican ploy to close the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. 
The lawsuit was filed by Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion clinic in the state who contests that they cannot possibly comply with the law. According to JWHO, the two physicians who perform the abortion are OBGYN certified in other states, and thus cannot receive admitting privileges to a Jackson area hospital. 
Also, two of the Jackson hospitals have religious affiliations and would not grant admitting privileges to a physician that provides abortions. On top of that, University of Mississippi Medical Center is very stringent about its admitting privileges. 
This has led to a federal judge issuing a reprieve against the law, temporarily blocking it from taking effect. A hearing has been set for July 11 to determine the fate of the bill.
While the lawsuit has some merit to it, it does not address the fact that this requirement actually makes sense. Abortion advocates often cite the complexities of abortions as a reason to keep them legal and safe. The Guttmacher Institute reports that about 0.3% of abortions lead to complications that require hospitalization. Of the 19.6 million abortions performed that Guttmacher reported in 2008, almost 60,000 of those should have led to hospitalization. By requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges, the law is recognizing the complexity of the procedure and allowing for safeguards to be in place in the instances of such complications.
Admitting privileges requirements are on the books or will take effect soon in a number of other states. While the opposition to admitting privileges bills has been there in other states, Mississippi receives the most scrutiny under the law because other states have more than one abortion clinic that can comply with the laws.
This likely would not be an issue if JWHO could comply with the law, and even though they cannot, it still should not be an issue. It is not the government’s job to make sure they pass laws that the clinic can comply to. It is the government’s job to pass common sense legislation that is designed to increase the safety of women who choose to receive abortions.
Trenton Winford is a junior public policy leadership major from Madison.