by Steven Ertelt
March 9, 2006
Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — Mississippi’s only abortion business has stopped performing second-trimester abortions while it awaits word from state officials as to whether it will be licensed to perform them. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is waiting on the state Department of Health to determine if it is in compliance with a new law.
State law requires abortion businesses to comply with commonsense standards that apply to legitimate medical centers.
One rule ensures the safety of women by making sure an abortion practitioner has admitting privileges at a local hospital in case of a seriously botched abortion.
The two out-of-state abortion practitioners at the JWHO abortion center do not have local privileges — something that may end up having the matter in court.
Susan Hill, president of North Carolina-based National Women’s Health Organization, which operates the abortion facility, told the Associated Press, "I think there’s a good chance there’s going to be an issue … that would have to be litigated."
Since stopping performing the second-trimester abortions in mid-February, Hill told AP that the abortion business has referred about 25 women to an abortion center in Alabama.
Hill indicated the abortion business meets most of the standards of the new law but is seeking a waiver from the health department for some of the others, including the admitting privileges and the nurse-to-patient ratio.
According to the AP report, four state health department officials conducted a vigorous inspection of the abortion center and reviewed the facility and its paperwork. Now Hill is waiting to hear back from authorities on their response.
Danny Miller, the department’s deputy director and chief of staff, told AP JWHO had some deficiencies and that the abortion center submitted a plan to correct them.
"An unannounced follow-up survey will be conducted to confirm the facility’s compliance with state regulations," he added.
He said the abortion practitioners, from Georgia and North Carolina, are trying to obtain local admitting privileges but Hill said she didn’t think that would be possible.
Pro-Life Mississippi President Terri Herring told AP her group "knew that they had filed for certification, and we were waiting to see if they could pass inspection."
She said she would count on the state attorney general to defend the law in court.
"Without local admitting privileges, what happens is those women who are injured go straight to University (of Mississippi) Medical Center … The taxpayers end up picking up the tab when women are injured," Herring said.