The women of Mississippi are only one signature away from losing their right to have an abortion. If the Republican Governor of Mississippi signs a new anti-abortion bill that has swept through the Republican controlled Senate and House, the state’s only abortion clinic could be forced to close its doors.
According to The Huffington Post, the bill “requires physicians performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital and be board certified or eligible in obstetrics and gynaecology.” Huffington Post reports that “admitting privileges are an arrangement with a hospital allowing the doctor to refer patients to the facility in case further treatment is needed. Many Mississippi hospitals have refused to grant admitting privileges to physicians who provide abortions.”
The problem with this is that while all of the three doctors at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization are board certified in obstetrics and gynaecology, only one has admitting privileges at a local hospital. This is because most hospitals in Mississippi refuse to admit doctors that perform the crucial medical service of abortion. This means that fanatical anti-abortion activists only have to stage protests to force the loss of admitting privileges to the last remaining doctor who is qualified under the terms of the new bill to perform abortions. It also makes that doctor a bigger target because those same anti-abortion fanatics will see an opportunity to end abortion in the state by killing the only doctor left who can perform them.
Governor Phil Bryant says the legislation “is an important step in strengthening abortion regulations and protecting the health and safety of women,” but this law does nothing to protect the health and safety of women. It just makes it more difficult for qualified doctors to provide women with the care they need. If a woman is raped and wants an abortion, she is unlikely to receive such care at an average Mississippi hospital. If women need an abortion because of defects that are fatal to the fetus or if the fetus is stillborn, they may not be able to get that care from a hospital. If a woman needs the morning after pill, she is unlikely to be prescribed the medication at a Mississippi hospital because Mississippi hospitals don’t really give a damn about the reproductive health of women.
These hospitals only care about politics and ideology. That’s why they refuse to give admitting privileges to doctors who perform abortion services. Only the Jackson Women’s Health Organization cares about women and their reproductive health. And the bill will effectively strangle that organization to death if it passes. This bill is a way to ban abortion in the state by attacking doctors, without whom, women in the state will have to rely on unsafe back alley abortions which will lead to more deaths of women who could have obtained safe abortions under the care of a qualified physician.
Mississippi is just one of many Republican controlled states trying to ban abortion and contraception. Georgia, Utah, Nebraska, Arizona, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Kansas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri have all pushed legislation that severely restricts women’s health services. It’s a war against women, and women need to get mobilized and fight back before these states begin treating them like common livestock.