Mississippians React To Judges’ Ruling Protecting State’s Lone Abortion Clinic
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Mississippi's last abortion clinic to stay open after court ruling.
Paul Boger

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Some of Mississippi's top political leaders are trying to decide how to challenge a federal appeals court ruling that keeps the state's only abortion clinic open. The proprietor of the Jackson Women's Health Organization says the clinic will continue operating until a court order tells them otherwise. 

“Ma’am, we’re praying for you.”

“Love you child today.”

“We’ve been praying for you since early this morning.”

“That baby is a gift from the Lord.”

“We want to help you any way we can.”

Outside of Mississippi's only abortion clinic in Jackson, anti-abortion protesters lined the sidewalks yesterday. Some carried signs depicting images of aborted fetuses, and others offered prayers for the women going into the clinic; all of them trying to persuade women to not go through with the controversial procedure.

Patricia Frazier of Clinton demonstrates outside the clinic weekly. She's disappointed federal judges upheld a lower-court's decision that blocked a state law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. 

“If somebody wants to have an abortion clinic they need to do it with the best health for women they can, and admitting privileges is a basic thing.” says Frazier. “I don’t understand except that maybe the judges are pro-abortion and maybe they’re trying to make sure abortion clinics are protected. That’s not their responsibility.”

While anti-abortion activists hailed the 2012 law as a way to ensure the health and safety of women, pro-abortion rights advocates saw it as an attack that would have likely closed the state's only clinic. However, last year, a federal judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect. A decision that was upheld Tuesday, by a three judge panel of the U-S 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Diane Derzis owns the Jackson Women's Health Organization. She hails the panel's decision as a victory for women's reproductive health.

“This is a big win for the women in the state; there is no question about that.” says Derzis. “Our doors are still open and we’re still able to see the women in Mississippi. If a woman can not make the decision of whether or not to become a parent then she cant make any decision in her life.”

Both Governor Phil Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves say they plan to petition the entire 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case.