Controversial Measure Would Essentially Shut Down Mississippi's Only Abortion Clinic

PHOTO: Larry Gonzalez, 42, prays outside the sole clinic to offer abortions in Jackson, Mississippi, U.S., Nov. 1, 2011.

A controversial measure that would essentially shut down the only abortion clinic in Mississippi has passed both houses of the state legislature.

The bill does not target, but directly impacts the state's only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law in the coming days.

The bill, House Bill 1390, would require doctors working at abortion clinics to be OB-GYN certified and have admitting privileges to a local hospital.

All across the country a number of measures challenging what opponents call the right to choose have popped up. Just last month in Virginia, Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law a bill which mandates women to undergo an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion.

Mississippi has aggressively targeted abortion since November's election put Republicans in charge of both chambers of the House.

Anti-abortion advocates saw an opportunity to pass legislation, like the heartbeat bill, that had long stalled.

That abortion restriction bill known as the "Heartbeat Bill," would have required doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion and would have outlawed the procedure if a heartbeat could be detected.

While the bill passed the Mississippi House, it was pending in a Senate committee and was not brought up for a vote before a Tuesday deadline.

On Friday in Dallas, hundreds welcomed 39 women who marched from Houston where the nation's largest abortion clinic stands to the federal courts building in downtown Dallas.

The federal courthouse is the home of the modern movement for a woman's right to choose verses the right to life, Roe V Wade.

The rally kicks off a two-day event at the Dallas Convention Center called The Esther Call -- a pro-life movement.

The Jackson's Women's Health Organization's owner, Diane Derzis, has said she will fight Bill 1930 by filing a lawsuit.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Derzis said most hospitals will not grant the privileges to out-of-state physicians and her clinic cannot operate under those terms.

Derzis said her clinic doctors live out of state to protect their safety. Many of the doctors have been stalked and threatened.

In the event she does sue, Derzis said a judge could issue a temporary injunction on the law that would allow her clinic to stay open until the lawsuit is resolved.

People in Mississippi are divided on the matter.

"I think it's a care issue," says Diamondhead, Miss. resident, Mary Lachin.

"The pro-choice people are trying to make this an anti abortion issue- but, it is about the care. If you choose to have an abortion, wouldn't you want your loved ones to go to a clinic with a licensed professional?" she said.

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