New law targets only abortion clinic in Mississippi

By Emily Wagster Pettus and Laura Tillman/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Social conservatives believe they’ve found a way to shut Mississippi’s only abortion clinic by making it difficult for doctors to obtain hospital-admitting privileges.

A bill awaiting Republican Gov. Phil Bryant’s signature requires anyone performing abortions in a clinic to be a certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. The privileges aren’t easy to get, in part because some religious-affiliated hospitals might be unwilling to associate with doctors who perform elective abortions. Doctors say they need admitting privileges to treat patients requiring post-abortion care.

Diane Derzis, owner of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic, said the law could starve her business of the doctors it needs.

Bryant plans to sign the bill shortly. It takes effect July 1.

Similar laws in other states have withstood court challenges.