by Steven Ertelt
October 6, 2004
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — The attorney general of Mississippi wants to have inspectors from the Department of Health check out an abortion business to determine if it meets the safety standards necessary to perform mid-term abortions.
In July, a judge blocked a state law requiring all second-trimester abortions to be performed in a hospital in case of a botched abortion where a woman requires immediate emergency medical attention. Abortion facilities are not typically designed to handle such situations.
Attorney General Jim Hood wants the Mississippi Health Department to determine if the Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortion business qualifies under the law to perform those kinds of abortions.
The law was supposed to take effect in July, but U.S. District Judge Tom Lee blocked it while he considers a lawsuit filed by JWHO challenging it.
Judge Lee has scheduled a hearing on the law for October 28, but Hood wants to know now whether JWHO meets the standards set for ambulatory surgical facilities in order to be able to perform the abortions.
"We’re trying to send Health Department inspectors and experts to go to those facilities, look at them and see if they meet the criteria required under the ambulatory surgical facilities," Hood told the Associated Press.
Hood says women would be safer somewhere else if JWHO was not equipped to handle medical emergencies arising from botched abortions.
Bonnie Scott Jones, a lawyer for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, a pro-abortion law firm, says JWHO wants to have its attorneys present at any inspection.
Jones contends JWHO would be able to perform the disputed abortions even if the new law was in place.
In August, Mississippi abortion practitioner Malachy DeHenre had his license to practice medicine suspended by the state’s licensing board, following similar action in Alabama.
In November 2003 a Birmingham, Alabama woman died just 10 hours after DeHenre performed an abortion there. In February 2001, a 22-year-old woman required a hysterectomy after an abortion performed by DeHenre, and three other cases of injured women were noted from 2001-2003.
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.