Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will likely be forced to close if it cannot comply with a restrictive new state law requiring its three doctors to secure hospital admitting privileges. And to make that happen quickly, state Rep. Sam Mims (R), who sponsored the measure wants the clinic to be inspected as soon as the law goes into effect on July 1, according to the Associated Press.
In a letter to the state’s health officer, Mims said there was no reason to delay an inspection:
“I am certainly aware that the Health Facilities Licensure Division is responsible for regulatory and enforcement duties on many types of facilities and does so with a limited number of employees,” Mims wrote in the letter, which he also sent to The Associated Press. “However, as the author of HB1390, this legislation was one of my priorities as chairman of the Public Health and Human Services Committee, and I consider it an important accomplishment.”
July 1 is on a Sunday, when most state government offices are closed. The clinic is also closed on Sundays, according to its website.
Health Department spokesman Liz Sharlot said the clinic could be inspected Monday, July 2.
“We will be inspecting the facility as soon as the law goes into effect to ensure the facility is in compliance,” Sharlot said Friday.
If the clinic is not in compliance with the new law, the Health Department will give it 10 working days to outline how it will meet the law’s requirements. The clinic’s spokeswoman Betty Thompson said the three doctors have applied for privileges at all area hospitals, and Diane Derzis, who owns the clinic, has said she will sue the state if they are unable to comply with the new law.