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Closed abortion clinic no longer has...

Closed abortion clinic no longer has basis for lawsuit against Mississippi’s trigger law; drops the case

By: Frank Corder - July 19, 2022

Mississippi Center for Justice says they will continue to push to restore abortion in the state.

On Monday, the owner of the “Pink House,” the state’s lone abortion clinic operated as Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) announced that the building had been sold and the equipment used to perform abortions in Mississippi were being shipped to New Mexico.

That owner also indicated that she would not seek to reopen the facility even if the state Supreme Court sided with their lawsuit filed challenging the trigger law that made abortion illegal in Mississippi except in the case of a formal charge of rape or to preserve the mother’s life.

READ MORE: Shuttered abortion clinic in Jackson sold, won’t reopen even if lawsuit is successful, owner says

Now, a day later, JWHO has announced through a release from the Mississippi Center for Justice that they are dismissing their appeal of the case made to the state Supreme Court.

JWHO attorney Rob McDuff admits in a statement on the dismissal that because the abortion clinic has been sold, JWHO no longer has a basis to pursue the case.

“On July 7, Mississippi‘s trigger ban took effect after a state trial court denied our motion to block it. This prohibited the provision of essentially all abortion care in the state and forced Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s last abortion clinic, to close,” McDuff states.  “The Mississippi Supreme Court then declined to hear our appeal on an emergency basis. Diane Derzis, the clinic’s owner, has now sold the clinic’s building in light of the dim prospects for a speedy and meaningful ruling that would allow the clinic to reopen. Accordingly, we have dismissed our case on the clinic’s behalf. If the clinic is not in a position to reopen in Mississippi, it no longer has a basis to pursue this case in the courts.”

McDuff continues by stating that Derziz’ work is not done and that MCJ applauds her commitment to continuing to ensure people can exercise their right to abortion.

“As she has stated, she is working to open a clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where she can provide abortion care without fear of being put in prison for 10 years,” McDuff adds. “We thank Diane; the clinic’s executive director, Shannon Brewer; and its medical director, Dr. Carr-Ellis; all of the clinic’s employees; and the Pink House Defenders, for the heroic work they have done so Mississippians could make their own decisions about pregnancy and childbirth.”

The Mississippi Supreme Court has set a July 25th deadline for response from the Mississippi Attorney General.  That will no longer be necessary now.

To say Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s office is pleased with the news of the dismissal would be an understatement.  Her office has fought for the stat’s’ right to regulate abortion through its elected lawmakers, which is where the U.S. Supreme Court landed on the issue in June when it overturned Roe v. Wade.

“We are pleased that the laws enacted by the people of Mississippi through their elected legislators can now go into effect, unimpeded by this litigation,” said Michelle Williams with the Mississippi Attorney General’s office.

While the fight from the abortion clinic has concluded, MCJ’s President and CEO Vangela Wade says they will continue to push for abortion to be restored in the state.

“In recent years, the Mississippi Center for Justice, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and the Paul Weiss law firm have filed several lawsuits to keep the clinic’s doors open, and to preserve and expand access to abortion in Mississippi,” Wade states. “We will continue to work for the day that right is restored and that every Mississippian has the resources to make their own reproductive and family planning decisions.”

You can read the dismissal below.

JWHO Dismissal by yallpolitics on Scribd

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: