Beginning July 1, all abortion-clinic physicians must have admitting privileges at a local hospital under a law passed by the Republican-led Legislature and signed by Republican Governor Phil Bryant in April. At the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s sole remaining clinic providing elective abortions, none of the three physicians who perform the procedure has been granted those privileges.
Mississippi may become the first U.S. state without a dedicated abortion clinic if the Jackson facility fails to come into compliance. That would mark the most visible victory for the anti-abortion movement, which has fought to abolish the procedure in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to have one.
“Roe v. Wade said that women have a right to an abortion in the sense that a state can’t deny or criminalize it, but there was no guarantee of access,” said Wendy Parmet, associate dean at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston. “States can’t create legal barriers or penalties, but they can make it practically really, really difficult.”