Mississippi Abortion-Hospital Law Decision Expected Later This Week

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 20, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mississippi Abortion-Hospital Law Decision Expected Later This Week

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
July 20, 2004

Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — A federal judge’s ruling on Mississippi’s new law restricting abortions is expected later this week. If allowed to take effect, the law could seriously affect abortion businesses in the state.

Under a new law that was to take effect July 1, abortions after the 13th week of pregnancy could only be performed at hospitals or ambulatory surgical clinics, although none of those facilities currently perform abortions. Public hospitals are currently restricted from performing abortions except in rare cases of rape, incest, fatal anomalies in the unborn child or risk to the mother’s life.

U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee has issued a temporary injunction against the law while he considers a lawsuit filed by a Jackson abortion business. The temporary injunction will expire on Friday.

Susan Hill, president of Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortion business said the restrictions could prevent 10 percent of the abortions they normally perform annually.

Last week pro-abortion attorney Simon Heller argued for the abortion business that the new law would endanger women by limiting access to abortion, forcing them to travel out of state or carry an unwanted pregnancy full-term.

Assistant Attorney General Roger Googe, Jr. argued that the law was intended to provide a safer environment for women seeking a second trimester abortion.

Women who suffer from botched abortions are usually not able to obtain emergency medical care at an abortion facility and must be transported to a hospital for followup care. Some women have died as a result of the delay in transferring her to a medical facility.

Hill noted that Mississippi is one of the most restrictive states on abortion, telling the Clarion-Ledger that her company operates abortion businesses in Wisconsin, Indiana, Delaware, Georgia, and North Carolina as well.

Pat Cartrette, director of Pro-Life Mississippi, said the law is needed to address safety concerns, as there have been reports of serious injuries to women during late-term abortions.

"Judge Lee asked a lot of questions that dealt with the safety issue, and we trust that when he rules it will be on the side of women and safety and that he will allow the law to go into effect," Cartrette said.

There were 3,566 abortions performed in Mississippi in 2001, the latest year information is available. The number of women who had complications is unknown, as abortion businesses are not required to report such information.