Rhetoric May Save Clinic | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Rhetoric May Save Clinic

Protesters gathered outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning after a federal judge moved last night to keep the clinic open at least 10 more days. Seated is Roy McMillan, husband of Pro-Life Mississippi President Beverly McMillan. The couple is also against birth control including the pill and the morning-after pill.

Protesters gathered outside the Jackson Women's Health Organization this morning after a federal judge moved last night to keep the clinic open at least 10 more days. Seated is Roy McMillan, husband of Pro-Life Mississippi President Beverly McMillan. The couple is also against birth control including the pill and the morning-after pill. Photo by Virginia Schreiber.


Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves made it clear that he wanted state law to eliminate abortion in Mississippi. Those words could help strike it down.

— State lawmakers and executives may have bitten themselves in the behind when they opened their mouths to boast about effectively ending abortion in the state with House Bill 1390.

The law, signed by Gov. Phil Bryant in April, requires doctors at abortion clinics to be registered OB/GYNs and have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves, along with other state Republicans, boasted about the law closing the state's only abortion clinic, located in Jackson, and eliminating legal abortion in the state.

"The Legislature took steps to end abortion in Mississippi by requiring doctors performing abortion to have admitting privileges at a local hospital," a May 3, 2012, press release from Reeves stated. "This measure not only protects the health of the mother but should close the only abortion clinic in Mississippi."

The Law went into effect July 1, but U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Jordan issued a temporary restraining order the same day. The TRO prevented the state Department of Health from beginning an administrative process that would close the clinic if the doctors their did not meet the new requirements.

Jordan set a hearing for July 11 to decide to extend the TRO or not. Jackson Women's Health Organization, located in the Fondren district of Jackson, will stay open at least until July 11.

"Though the debate over abortion continues, there exists legal precedent the Court must follow. Applying that law, the Court finds that a TRO should issue," the court order states.

Mississippi College law professor Matt Steffey said examined the TRO and the law this morning. He said that openly admitting that the real purpose of the law is to eliminate abortion, not to make women's health safer, may not have been a good legal decision for the pro-life camp.

"It certainly helps the plaintiffs make their case," Steffey said. "Many of these (efforts) directed for the explicit purpose of shutting down the lone remaining abortion clinic are going to immediately be challenged. Those challenges are going to be difficult to set aside."

Judge Jordan wrote that this was a main issue in his order.

"In this case, plaintiffs have offered evidence--including quotes from significant legislative and executive officers--that the act's purpose is to eliminate abortions in Mississippi," the order states. "They likewise submitted evidence that no safety or health concerns motivated its passage. This evidence has not yet been rebutted."

The order states that the Department of Health could not have shut the clinic down once the law took effect July 1, anyway. Rather, if the TRO is lifted and law takes effect, "the State will commence administrative proceedings that will allow the Clinic time to comply before it is closed."

Diane Derzis is the president of the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the state's only abortion clinic. She said the doctors at the clinic have applied for admitting privileges. The process is usually a lengthy one, she said, but it will probably be even lengthier for abortion doctors. She said the application was 50 pages long.

"We have made applications to every hospital in this area, except St. Dominic," Derzis said. "They told us not to bother."

Steffey said he expects the hearing to last days, not weeks. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will ultimately make a decision on the law, though, Steffey said, in an overall court process that will likely take one to two years. Whether the clinic stays open during that time will depend on Judge Jordan's ruling in the hearing that begins July 11.

Anti-abortion protesters were on the sidewalks outside the clinic at 6 a.m. today. One protester, Ashley Sigrest, said she is the kind of activist most mainstream media don't want to talk to: a woman who has had an abortion.

Sigrest had an abortion at a small clinic in Houston, Texas when she was 18. She said she was raped, and waited about five months before she had an abortion. If anyone had been outside the clinic in Houston the day she got an abortion, as she was this morning in Jackson, she said she probably would not have had the procedure.

"The regret a woman feels from choosing an abortion is the deepest pain known to man, I have no doubt," Sigrest said. "It's not just the loss of a child. It's you chose to kill your child for whatever reason. That is the pain that is hard to live with. I suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. I drank so much to numb myself. I had horrific nightmares, (that) had nothing, ever, to do with the rape. Once I realized what I did in that abortion, in killing my child, I could care less about the rape."

Cristen Hemmins is also a victim of rape. She helped organize the successful fight against Proposition 26, known as the Personhood amendment, last year.

"The people who want to shut down the clinic have made it so clear that it is not about women's health," Hemmins said today. "It's simply about shutting down the clinic. I had hoped that a legal suit would keep it open. I was really relieved that it looks like that is going to happen."

Earlier: BREAKING: Federal Judge Blocks Clinic Closing

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scrappy1 7 years, 9 months ago

"Whatever the intent of the abortion industry may be, by functional standards, abortion is a racist institution. In the United States, black children are aborted at 5 times the rate as white children and Hispanic children don't fare much better." http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abort...">http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abort...

This Jackson clinic is well position to do just that. We will spare no expense to find who killed an adult but 50 million babies aborted is just a womens health issue, go mind your own business.


tstauffer 7 years, 9 months ago

"Whatever the intent of the abortion industry may be, by functional standards, abortion is a racist institution. In the United States, black children are aborted at 5 times the rate as white children and Hispanic children don't fare much better." http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abort...">http://www.abort73.com/abortion/abort...

Scrappy, using that same logic, Renaissance Faires and Barry Manilow concerts are also "functionally racist." You might need to look up the meaning of the word. (And you probably won't find it on that website that you're cutting-and-pasting from.)


scrappy1 7 years, 8 months ago

Renaissance Faires and Barry Manilow , really Todd, those are meant to disprove abortion as a racist institution? The original plan of abortion was to eliminate undesirables from society of which minorities make up a large percent according to Margaret Sanger and the KKK. 78% of PPH's clinics are in minority neighborhoods according to this site; http://blackgenocide.org/planned.html">http://blackgenocide.org/planned.html Sorry for the cutting and pasting, may I borrow your logic and as guns cause crime my mouse is causing the cutting and pasting.


tstauffer 7 years, 8 months ago

Scrappy, my mistake for jumping in. As a rule, I don't argue with people about abortion.

Now, that I'm here... Planned Parenthood is not the only place that abortions happen and I don't believe Planned Parenthood "invented" abortion; I disagree that there is an "institution" called abortion -- I believe it's a medical procedure; I would hazard to guess that middle and upper-class abortions in doctors offices and hospitals are underreported compared to those that happen in urban clinics.

Interesting link for people who want to dig deeper:


I also don't think guns cause crime -- don't troll. As I mentioned in my DM, you are encouraged to refrain from telling people what they think. Argue your case on its merits.

Abortion is an emotional topic that I personally feel is largely a women's health issue and I therefore don't engage. I was persuaded momentarily to make a joke to illustration that I'm unconvinced of the causation in your tenuous correlation. Over and out.


donnaladd 7 years, 9 months ago

First of all, scrappy, not everyone agrees with your contention that abortion is murder, including established Supreme Court precedent. You seem to want to stipulate that, but it's your stipulation, not other people's. You get your own opinion, but you don't get your own facts.

I also suggestion using sourcing that at least on its face seems more credible than "abort73.com." Even if the facts are correct, people aren't going to be likely to believe them.

Finally, the whole issue of white people--not saying you are, despite the North Dakota thing--trying to eliminate abortion on race grounds is offensive to many people, although it's become a popular ploy by the far right.

We ran a http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/...">very interesting story about that last fall.

I am in favor of abortion rights, but I am respectful about people who believe that it is immoral even though it is a legal constitutional right. I believe we work toward common ground (as much as possible) and do everything we can to reduce the incidence of abortion. And that sure doesn't include call the pill and the morning-after pill "murder," as the McMillans do.

All the moralizing isn't going to help anything. It's none of their business whether people choose to have sex before marriage -- and frankly that seems to be their obsession as much as anything.


donnaladd 7 years, 9 months ago

Of course, Todd's response just now was much better than mine. He did it again.

Barry Manilow concerts: lol.


tstauffer 7 years, 9 months ago

Had to be said; my last word on the subject.


goldeneagle97 7 years, 8 months ago

I respect every person's believe to be anti-abortion, but the questions that should be asked are, a) what would they do to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies that result in abortion and/or 2) what are they willing to do for the babies once they're born?

I also don't like being insulted about the argument of saving minority children from abortion. Why make it a race matter? But be it as it is, ask the same two questions for minority children.


scrappy1 7 years, 8 months ago

What is your justification for the "North Dakota" thing??? As for a ploy of the far right, the racism of abortion, the location of clinics to black neighborhoods, is self evident. Black genocide. com isn't a far right site. Your willingness to track down a killer from the sixties doesn't seem to fit with your opinion on abortion. As for far right, the grandmother of abortion pitched her abortion plans to the KKK first and 78% of their clinics are presently in minority neighborhoods. A third person causing the death of an unborn, through assault etc., can be prosecuted. But not a doctor taking a life that a mother willing gives up.


donnaladd 7 years, 8 months ago

No, scrappy, Todd's point was to show that your logic doesn't work.

As for the stuff you're stating as fact, I'm going to have to ask you to provide real sources, not from rhetoric sites. If you can't source your material well, you're just spreading rumors.


scrappy1 7 years, 8 months ago

Real Sources; According to the US Census and the Centers for Disease Control ,http://www.census.gov/compendia/stata...">http://www.census.gov/compendia/stata..., in 2007 blacks had 448,000 abortions out of a total 1,210,000 abortions. That is 37% of abortions by blacks while the black population is about 13% of the US population. This rate is fairly consistent through years reported. These figures are supportive of the web site blackgenocide.com, jezebel.com is referring to specific clinics owned by planned parenthood and their representation of the number of black abortions as a percentage of all abortions is inaccurate.. These reports are for all abortions.


donnaladd 7 years, 8 months ago

I lived in North Dakota. I just like to mention it randomly. wink


scrappy1 7 years, 8 months ago

I lived in Mississippi for many years, and like to keep in touch.


SusanM 7 years, 8 months ago

Any disparity in abortion rates between women of different races is due to disparities in access to birth control, cultural differences that make it more difficult for (some) black women to insist that her partner use birth control, and differences in the ability of lower-income women (who are disproportionately black) to go to a private clinic out of state for a "quiet" abortion.

As for Sanger's views on eugenics, it is nonsense to use that to discredit abortion clinics in the 21st century. Sanger supported using birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and supported the right of women to terminate unwanted pregnancies that did occur, and this support was separate from her opinions about race and eugenics. Racism was pretty much the norm among whites in the first half of the 20th century; if we discredit all of the ideas and developments produced by people who held racist or otherwise offensive beliefs, we would be very short of ideas and developments.


multiculturegirl 7 years, 8 months ago

Donna already mapped out health care assess disparities so I won't go there and I believe she cleared up Sanger let's work with some facts about where abortion clinics are located. Let me say as a woman of color I am offended and tired of predominantly white organizations who do NOTHING for little black children once they are here claiming there is a conspiracy against black babies by women's health care providers. The same providers oft times who are the ONLY ones providing poor women of color reproductive health care. According to the Guttmacher Institute as of 2008 - 63 percent of abortion providers are located in predominantly non-Hispanic white neighborhoods.12 percent are located in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. 9 percent of abortion providers are located in predominantly black neighborhoods. 1 percent of abortion providers are located in other predominantly non-white neighborhoods. 15 percent of abortion providers were located in neighborhoods where no racial group constituted a majority of the population.
So let us be done with this double demonizing of poor black women were if they have an abortion they are participating in genocide and if they have the babies they helping destroy the country by raising future criminals or drains on society. Either way some how its our fault for something. Might I also mention that this black genocide argument didn't become really big among white anti choice groups until they felt it would help them gain political ground with black churches when they were losing ground in the public eye after all the doctor assassination and clinic bombings. Nice try black people aren't stupid. We trust women!

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