If you followed last week's news that a federal judge allowed Mississippi's last abortion clinic to stay open while it tried to meet the requirements of a new state, you might understandably be confused by headlines on an Associated Press story on the clinic saga: "Miss. abortion clinic may be on way to closing."
How could the clinic already be on its way to being shut down if the judge said it could remain in operation while its paperwork is reviewed? It makes more sense once you read the AP piece.
"Health officials have inspected Mississippi’s lone abortion clinic, the first step in a process that could lead to its closure if a new state law survives a legal challenge. Following Monday’s inspection, the Mississippi Department of Health has 10 working days to issue findings. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization continues to perform abortions in the meantime," the story states.
But that's not exactly news. We knew that state health officials would inspect the clinic once the law went into effect, and that if the clinic wasn't in compliance with the law that all doctors have admitting privileges, they'd be cited.
Of course that isn't the impression that the headline now splashed across the front pages of Fox News, ABC News and Huffington Post is giving off. HuffPost's headline goes even further, stating "Mississippi Abortion Clinic Potentially On Brink Of Being Shut Down."
From reading the Jeff Amy's AP story, clinic owner Diane Derzis seemed annoyed at the reporter's questions.
‘‘You know that I'm not in compliance. Certainly this is not a secret," Derzis told the AP in a phone interview.
Apparently, the news organizations didn't bother to read the rest of the story, which points out that the clinic has six months to comply with the law and then another 60 days to appeal if it's shut down.
The earliest the clinic could legally be forced to cease operation is May 2013. Expect a huge legal battle first.