Jackson Women’s Health Organization’s Shannon Brewer contributes an opinion piece to the New York Times describing what it’s like to be the clinic director at the only abortion clinic left in Mississippi, dealing with dozens of restrictions imposed on the provision of abortion care in the state. She talks about the upcoming Supreme Court case brought by her clinic with the Center for Reproductive Rights—and the urgent need for Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act to protect abortion access from the current web of restrictions and bans. She writes:
“When Mississippi’s Legislature passed a ban on almost all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy in 2018, I was outraged but not worried. This ban is plainly unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said that states cannot ban abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb, typically around 23 weeks of pregnancy at the earliest. So we sued the state — as we have before — and the ban has been blocked ever since. I was not concerned when the state appealed to the Supreme Court. I expected the court would not take up the case.
Then last month, I got a call from my lawyer at the Center for Reproductive Rights. The Supreme Court would hear Mississippi’s appeal, she said. It would reconsider whether states may ban abortion before the point set forth in Roe.
If the ban is upheld and Roe is reversed, it would make an already awful situation yet more dire. Women may need to drive even farther, across multiple states, to get abortion care…
We need the federal government to put an end to this assault on our rights. We need it to protect abortion access everywhere, for everyone.
On Tuesday, members of Congress reintroduced a bill that would do exactly that — the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill, which was first introduced in 2013 but has never been passed, would protect against state laws like Mississippi’s two-trip requirement and 15-week ban. It would do so by creating a statutory right for health care providers to deliver abortion care and a right for patients to receive that care without medically unnecessary restrictions.”
Read “We’re Mississippi’s Last Abortion Clinic, and We’re Braced for the Worst,” New York Times, June 9, 2021