Abortion Clinic at Center of SCOTUS Decision Ends Court Challenge

Mississippi clinic is moving to New Mexico
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 20, 2022 2:30 AM CDT
Abortion Clinic at Center of SCOTUS Decision Ends Court Challenge
Empty clinic escort chairs rest by the driveway of the Jackson Women's Health Organization clinic in Jackson, Miss., Friday, July 8, 2022. The clinic was the only facility that performed abortions in the state.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

The Mississippi abortion clinic that was at the center of the US Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade ended a lawsuit Tuesday in which it had sought to block the state from enforcing a law that bans most abortions, the AP reports. Jackson Women's Health Organization dropped its litigation a day after clinic owner Diane Derzis told the Associated Press that she sold the facility and had no intention to reopen it, even if a state court allowed her to do so. “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,” Rob McDuff, a Mississippi Center for Justice attorney who was among those representing the clinic, said in a statement. Derzis said the clinic’s furniture and equipment have been moved to a new abortion clinic she will open soon in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The Mississippi clinic—best known as the Pink House because of its bright paint job—stopped offering medication-induced and surgical abortions July 6, the day before Mississippi enacted a law that bans most abortions. Mississippi was one of several states with a trigger law that went into effect after the Supreme Court ruling. On July 5, a state court judge rejected a request by the clinic's attorneys to block the trigger law from taking effect. The clinic appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court, citing a 1998 ruling that said the state constitution invokes a right to privacy that “includes an implied right to choose whether or not to have an abortion." Because the clinic is dropping its lawsuit, the Mississippi Supreme Court will not issue a new ruling.

Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists from across the country converged in southern New Mexico on Tuesday to protest the clinic's relocation plans, the AP reports. The crowd gathered in triple-digit temperatures near the location where Jackson Women's Health Organization plans to open its new clinic next week. Some held signs that read “Pray to End Abortion” and “Vote Your Values.” They heard from the leader of a local Catholic parish, a university student group and activists from Texas and Mississippi who talked about their experiences shutting down abortion clinics elsewhere. Organizers of the rally announced they would open a Guiding Star Project clinic next door to the planned abortion clinic. The facility will provide fertility care, pregnancy and childbirth support services.

(More Mississippi stories.)

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