Mississippi Abortion Clinic Will Remain Open Until At Least July 4th

A sheriff stands in the road looking at the retreating back of a white man
Hinds County Deputy Sheriff Zachary Moore tells anti-abortion protesters they cannot block the road outside the Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday, June 24, 2022, in Jackson, Miss. Photo by Lukas Flippo

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, upending decades of legal precedent in the United States and allowing states to enact full abortion bans. But in Mississippi, some abortions will remain legal until a 2007 trigger law goes into effect, likely in early July.

In a statement this afternoon, the Mississippi Abortion Access Coalition decried the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, but noted that abortion “is legal in Mississippi today and for a short period of time.”

“If you have an appointment for an abortion, keep it,” the group said. “… Abortion will be banned in Mississippi as early as the 4th of July.”

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, will remain open until Mississippi’s trigger law goes into effect, in spite of activist protesters attempting to bar entry to the clinic for women seeking the last legal, voluntary abortions before the ban.

Abortions prior to 15 weeks remain legal in Mississippi until Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s opinion on the ruling is published with the Mississippi secretary of state. Ten days after that point, Mississippi’s trigger law will take effect, banning all abortions at any stage except in cases of rape or where a pregnant person’s life is endangered.

“After the ten days are up, abortions are only legal for instances in which the mother’s health is at severe risk, or in cases of rape,” the Mississippi Abortion Access Coalition said in its statement. “For rape cases, the case must be reported to law enforcement.”

After the news broke this morning, anti-abortion activists were successful in running a number of patients away from the clinic, shouting at them as they drove up to the clinic that Roe v. Wade had been overturned. Clinic volunteers quickly made and began holding up makeshift signs reading “This Clinic Remains Open” for passerby and approaching patients.

Three people in colorful clinic escort vests hold "This Clinic Open" signs in front of the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic
Jackson Women’s Health Organization clinic volunteers hold up signs saying “This Clinic is Open” to let patients know that the Jackson Women’s Health Organization is currently still seeing patients after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Photo by Ashton Pittman

In a speech after the announcement of the decision, President Joe Biden demanded that governors in all states respect the right of women to travel across state lines and access medicine that the Food and Drug Administration has approved.

“Many states in this country still recognize a woman’s right to choose,” Biden said today. “If a woman lives in a state that restricts abortion, the Supreme Court’s decision does not prevent her from traveling from her home state to the state that allows it. It does not prevent a doctor in that state from treating her.” 

Biden threatened federal action if that right were curtailed. “As the attorney general made clear, women must remain free to travel safely to another state to seek care,” he said today. ““My administration will defend that bedrock right. If any state or local official high or low tries to interfere with a woman exercising her basic right to travel, I will do everything in my power to fight that deeply un-American attack.”

Biden specifically named the abortion medication Mifepristone as a medication that women must continue to maintain access to, even in states that have fully banned abortion. Abortion-rights activists in Mississippi, anticipating the downfall of abortion rights, have made efforts to educate Mississippians about self-managed abortions.

“My administration will also protect women’s access to medications that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration: like contraception, which is essential for preventative health care,” Biden said.

“Mifepristone was FDA-approved 20 years ago to safely end early pregnancies, and is commonly used to treat miscarriages. Some states are saying that they’ll try to ban or severely restrict access to these medications,” he continued. “But extremist governors and state legislators looking to block the mail, or search a person’s medicine cabinet, or control women’s actions by tracking data on apps are wrong and extreme and out of touch.”

See the MFP’s full coverage and archive on abortion rights in Mississippi here and the Jackson Free Press archive here.

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