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Whether or not to abort abortion in Mississippi

 
US District Judge Daniel Jordan III extended the temporary restraining order on the new Mississippi abortion law on Wednesday, July 11. The new law could force the state’s only abortion clinic to close its doors. Jordan has yet to decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the law. He wants time to review the newly issued rules on how the law would be enforced. The Mississippi Health Department issued the rules yesterday morning.   
The Bill, HB 1390, requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. 
The Jackson Women’s Health Organization has filed suit, saying the bill would force the state’s only clinic to shut down. The three abortion providers are board certified OB/GYNs, however only one lives in the state and they do not have admitting privileges at the local hospitals. While they have all applied for admitting privileges, there is a risk that they might be denied by the religious-based hospitals that are against abortion or denied for other reasons.  
Proponents of the bill have said it is designed for the safety and protection of women. Those against the bill see it as a backdoor way of making Mississippi abortion free. 
Gov. Phil Bryant and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves have both expressed views against abortion and wishes that Mississippi was abortion free. The bill shortly followed Proposition 26, also known as the “Personhood Amendment,” which was shot down by voters. The proposition, if passed, would have greatly effected women’s options in respect to their reproductive health and rights. 
Roe v. Wade was the landmark case protecting a women’s right to an abortion. In 1992 the Supreme Court upheld Roe in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, ruling that a woman has a constitutional right to choose abortion before viability, that is when the child can live outside the womb, and thereafter if her life or health is at stake. In Casey the court ruled that in order to succeed in a constitutional challenge, a law must be shown to have the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion.   
This law would certainly be placing a substantial obstacle if it forces the only abortion clinic to close. Although the law is said to insure safety of women, closing the clinic would limit women wishing to get an abortion with very few options, some of which would be very unsafe. Women would have to leave the state, providing they had means to do so. What if they were unable to leave the state? The alternatives to a safe, certified clinic are horrific. The so called health-protecting bill would actually do far more damage in relation to women’s health. 
And what message would we be sending to women? Casting shame on them in what is already a difficult decision. There are many different reasons why a woman might seek an abortion. Each case has a story behind it, and regardless of whether you morally agree or disagree with that decision, the Supreme Court has ruled it a constitutional right. This bill could potentially violate a constitutional right and actually harm women’s health. Hopefully the courts will be progressive and forward thinking and bring women’s health and choices to the forefront, placing Mississippi ahead of the curve instead of consistently behind.
 
Anna Rush is a second-year law student from Hattiesburg. She graduated from Mississippi State University in 2011. Follow her on Twitter @annakrush.