The minute the Mississippi legislature sent House Bill 1390 up to the governor’s mansion last week, there was no question that Gov. Phil Bryant would put his signature to it. Monday, he did. And said:
“I believe that all human life is precious, and as governor, I will work to ensure that the lives of the born and unborn are protected in Mississippi. This bill requires all physicians associated with an abortion clinic in Mississippi to be board-certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynecology. To further protect patient safety in the event of a complication during the procedure, this bill also requires the physician to have staff and admitting privileges at a local hospital.”
The one remaining abortion clinic in the state, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a six-minute drive from the mansion, already has three board-certified OB/GYN physicians on its staff. One of them has hospital admitting privileges. The other two can’t get them because they live out of state and Mississippi bars non-resident doctors from obtaining admitting privileges. They live out of state for their own protection because they have been stalked and threatened. When you’re an abortion provider, that isn’t something to mess with. Because some “pro-life” assassin could decide to take you out.
The requirement is ridiculous anyway since the clinic already has an arrangement with local hospitals to admit any patient who develops complications from an abortion.
The owner of the clinic, Diane Derzis, says it can’t be operated with just one physician on staff. Which means that, just like the other five abortion clinics once open in Mississippi, this one, too, is being harassed out of existence. The forced-birthers have been working at just the right combination of protests and harassments and legislative gotchas to shut down abortion providers, and they seem to have found it in Mississippi.
What worked there may not work elsewhere, at least not everywhere else. But the forced-birthers are flexible and innovative. And relentless. Had this bill not done the trick, legislators might have required abortion providers to be able to trace their ancestry back to Mississippians alive when the governor’s mansion was built 170 years ago. Some proposals in some states are not far from being that ridiculous.
Derzis has said she may sue.