Jackson, MS, July 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – It’s “business as usual” for Mississippi’s last remaining abortion facility, after a judge issued a temporary restraining order Sunday night barring the state from enforcing a new law that mandates stricter safety standards for abortion clinics.
The law requires abortionists to have local hospital privileges and be at least eligible for ObGyn board certification.
The ruling by Federal Court Judge Daniel P. Jordan III will allow the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) to stay open, even though two of its three abortionists have not received hospital privileges.
In his decision, Judge Jordan took issue with the fact that advocates of the bill have publicly suggested that the purpose of the bill is “to eliminate abortions in Mississippi.” He also said that the plaintiffs have offered evidence, “that no safety or health concerns motivated [the bill’s] passage.”
“This evidence has not yet been rebutted,” he wrote.
A preliminary injunction hearing is set for July 11, 2012. Meanwhile, a planned Health Department compliance inspection scheduled for Monday, that likely would have resulted in the facility’s closure, has been postponed.
Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation, who was partly responsible for the creation of the legislation, lambasted the decision Monday, saying that Judge Jordan ignored the injuries and other violations committed by JWHO abortionist Bruce Norman.
“In doing so, the judge has disregarded the health and safety of women who unwittingly submit to abortion by Norman under the false belief that his abortions are safe,” said Newman.
Newman alleged that Operation Rescue has evidence that JWHO “intentionally concealed the fact that Norman sent three abortion patients to the hospital on January 21, 2012 at an abortion clinic in Birmingham, Alabama.”
“That incident, which was reported by pro-life activists, led to the discovery of 76 pages of violations,” said Newman, “including the intentional falsification of medical records and logs, which led to the state order closure of the clinic and the order that owner Diane Derzis be banned from any affiliation with a new abortion business there.”
Derzis, who is also the owner of JWHO, celebrated the blocking of the law Monday. “Mississippi is still part of this country and still does have to abide by the Constitution,” she told reporters at her facility.
She also boasted that since assuming control of the abortion facility in 2010, no client had been sent “directly” from the clinic to the hospital, according to the Associated Press.
The clinic now sports a hand-made sign outside its entrance, saying, “Happy Independence Day. We are open.”
Derzis has said that she does not expect that the two abortionists at her facility who currently lack hospital admitting privileges will be able to obtain them.
Meanwhile, Reuters reports that legal analysts anticipate the court battle over the law may extend for months, or even years.
Pro-life advocates expressed confidence that they would eventually prevail. “Every pro-life law that has been passed in Mississippi has been challenged and followed by an injunction to stop enforcement,” said Terri Herring, national director of the Pro Life America Network. “All of our laws, though, have eventually been upheld as constitutional.”
The Center for Reproducitve Rights, which is representing JWHO, expressed its intent to continue to fight the Mississippi law to ensure “that the women of Mississippi are not relegated to a second class of U.S. citizens, denied the constitutionally-protected rights that other women nationwide are guaranteed.”
“The opponents of reproductive rights in the Mississippi legislature have made no secret of their intent to make legal abortion virtually disappear in the state of Mississippi,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Their hostility toward women, reproductive health care providers, and the rights of both would unquestionably put the lives and health of countless women at risk of grave harm.”
When signing the bill into law on April 16, Governor Bryant said, “Today you see the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on – to say we’re going to try to end abortion in Mississippi.”