"One of the things that has really been surprising about Mississippi is how open the legislators and elected officials have been about their intentions," Movahed said. "They're not even pretending it's about public safety. They're openly saying they're using this law to try to shut down the last abortion provider in the state."
The lawsuit by the clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, notes that Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves says on his website that the new abortion law "not only protects the health of the mother but should close the only abortion clinic in Mississippi."
Religious-affiliated hospitals might not grant admitting privileges to those who perform elective abortions, while other hospitals might not grant them to out-of-state physicians who travel to Jackson to work at the clinic. As of Friday, the final business day before the new law kicks in Sunday, physicians working at the clinic had applied for the admitting privileges but hadn't received them.
The clinic says in the lawsuit that the admitting privileges are not medically necessary. It says complications from abortion are rare, and it notes that under previous state law, it already had an agreement with a Jackson physician who didn't do abortions but has admitting privileges and would help any clinic patient, if needed.
Bryant and legislators who pushed the new law said they believe it will be safer for a woman who develops complications if the same doctor who does an abortion at a clinic can accompany her to a hospital rather than handing her case over to another physician.
State attorneys defending the law said in court documents that "the immediate concern that the clinic may be closed on July 1 is ill-founded." They cited administrative procedures the state Health Department uses in activating new laws.