Last Abortion Clinic in Mississippi at Center of Current Case – Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska 2021-12-01 03:00:00 –

The Pink House was not the first choice for tiaras. It wasn’t even her second. But it was one of the only places I could help her.

Tiara, who has withheld her full name for privacy, lives in Beaumont, Texas. She and her husband have three children, two and one year old twins. She works and is responsible for most of the childcare work with her children.

Shortly after the Texas law known as SB 8 came into force, Tiara learned she was pregnant. Her home state banned abortion for anyone for more than six weeks during pregnancy. Most people, including Tiara, are unaware that they are pregnant. Oh no, she thought.

“It’s the first time I’ve done something like this,” she said.

So, at 3:00 am on Tuesday, October, she left for Jackson, six hours away by car. As her husband watched the children at home, Tiara headed to one of the closest places to access the abortion, the Pink House. She didn’t know how much the procedure would cost. $ 600? $ 650? But she knew it needed to work.

Nationally, access to abortion has become increasingly vulnerable over the last decade. This year, the fight to revoke the Roe v. Wade case (a 1973 Supreme Court proceeding that guaranteed the right to abortion) could finally reach crescendo. The Pink House, nicknamed the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is at the heart of a widely seen opportunity to revoke the right to abortion for 50 years.

Today, the Supreme Court hears a case initiated by the Health of Jackson Women, the only abortion clinic in Mississippi. The clinic disputes Mississippi law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks of gestation, violating the Roe v. Wade precedent of guaranteeing the right to abortion until the foetation can live independently outside the womb. Insisted that there was.

In a sense, a 15-week ban alone may be relatively meaningless. JacksonWomen’s Health does not have an abortion 16 weeks after pregnancy. Nationally, most abortions occur 13 weeks ago. However, abortion after 15 weeks is usually done for those who discover health concerns late in pregnancy or who have been unable to put together the money, time, and resources to access the abortion early. Thing. For them, even a week’s loss is tremendous.

That Tuesday morning, Tiara passed pro-abortion protesters who regularly shouted Bible passages as they camp outside the Pink House. She was greeted by an institutional clinic escort, a volunteer whose job was to help patients safely enter and leave the institution. That day, they wore bright striped vests and set up speakers to blow up Prince and Journey’s songs in an attempt to drown protesters.

Within the clinic, Tiara participated in Mississippi-mandated counseling. This includes the false claim that abortion can increase the risk of breast cancer. Ultrasonography showed that she was 11 weeks pregnant — slow enough for her to require minor surgery to end her pregnancy.

Mississippi is one of several states that patients need to visit twice to have an abortion. There is initial counseling and after 24 hours there is the abortion itself. However, Tiara’s first appointment was Tuesday, and Jackson Women’s Health wasn’t open the next day.

That night, Tiara returned to Beaumont for six hours. She will meet her children and her husband. And two days later she traveled again.

“I already have children. They are too close in age,” Tiara said from the clinic’s waiting room. “I really don’t think it’s right. Get rid of abortion.”

If the Supreme Court upholds the Mississippi 15-week ban, the decision will almost certainly undermine the Roe v. Wade case. It depends heavily on the subtle differences in how the court makes the decision. But if the court goes one step further and suggests that the Constitution does not protect the right to abortion and that the state is free to regulate procedures, the Governor of Mississippi will pursue a state-wide ban. Indicated. Many observers believe that such consequences are likely.

After Jackson, the impact is enormous.

“It will be harmful to women in Mississippi. It will be harmful to women in the South,” said Shannon Brewer, Clinic Director of Jackson Women’s Health. “Ultimately, it will be harmful to any woman.”

Access to abortion in Mississippi, one of the poorest states in the United States and one of the states with the highest pregnancy-related mortality rates, was already sparse at best. Jackson Women’s Health is the only clinic in the state. For many patients in both Mississippi and neighboring states, it is a lifeline.

“Patients here are those who can’t afford to fly to another state,” Brewer said. “These are those who can’t afford to take a break from work to lose their job, or who can’t find anyone to see their children.”

Especially this year, the clinic is under unprecedented pressure, Brewer said, glancing at a series of security camera feeds on his desk. Jackson Women’s health is constantly monitored, thanks to the national interest in the next Supreme Court proceeding. But at the same time, the workload of doctors has increased astronomically, even in the past few months.

Mississippi is adjacent to both Louisiana, where extratropical cyclones destroyed the abortion infrastructure this summer, and Texas, where access to most abortions was virtually terminated by a six-week ban. Now, half of the patients passing here may come from one of these two states. The Oklahoma Clinic calls Jackson Women’s Health to ask if a doctor can schedule an appointment for a Texas person seeking out-of-state care.

Located between cafes and restaurants in Jackson’s gentrification district of Fondolen, the clinic is often overlooked without the daily flow of protesters waiting outside with posters offering anti-abortion pamphlets. It’s not a big building. There are two rooms for performing surgical abortions, office space for doctors and staff, and patient waiting areas in front of and behind the building. Visitors can buy snacks (chip bags or bottled water) from the front waiting room.

The cheapest procedure — a drug abortion before someone is 11 weeks pregnant — costs $ 600. Mandatory ultrasonography costs an additional $ 100. These are not small, especially in states where one in five working women lives below the poverty line, and Mississippi health insurance is generally prohibited from covering abortion.

Sarah, a 29-year-old patient, drove for two and a half hours to come here to rent a friend’s car and drive. (Sara is a pseudonym. She asked to refrain from both her surname and given name.) She came early to avoid the daily flood of protesters.

Sarah did not say that she was pregnant (about four and a half weeks) or wanted an abortion. She said her family was very religious. They didn’t understand.

She said having children is not feasible at the moment. She lost her job when the coronavirus crisis first struck Mississippi. She and her fiancé had to sell their home so they could pay the bills. She lives with her parents until she gets married.

“I can’t give birth to a child in my life at this point,” she said from a small waiting room at the back of the building. “I didn’t mean to get pregnant.”

But if the clinic wasn’t here, Sarah said, she doesn’t know what she did. She doesn’t think she could drive more than four hours one way to have an abortion.

Already, nearly half of Mississippian cultures that have had an abortion have left the state to have an abortion. In 2018, about 4,700 Mississippian cultures ended their pregnancy, according to state health agency data. However, that same year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were only about 3,000 abortions in the state.

This means that nearly 2,000 residents have left Mississippi for abortion, often to clinics in Tennessee and Alabama, according to CDC data.

If the Roe v. Wade case is overturned, all of Mississippi’s neighbors, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas, have laws in their books that outlaw the procedure. The next closest options are Florida, North Carolina, Kansas, and Illinois.

During the week of October 18, 104 patients had an abortion at Jackson Women’s Health. This is more than twice the standard.

The clinic has extended its business hours. Before the Texas ban came into effect, Jackson Women’s Health was open three days a week. It is now open for 5 days, sometimes 6 days. They hired two more doctors — now five different doctors jump in from outside the state to provide an abortion. The clinic pays for plane tickets, car rentals and accommodation.

“If you get a call from a patient and you can pick him up the next week, you can drive there without having to wait a couple of weeks,” Brewer said. “So many states are restricted to doctors, limited to places where the schedule fills up quickly. Patients have to wait. So we brought these doctors. These doctors I am grateful that there is, but that is the only reason we can see the patient. “

Still, many here believe that when the right to abortion will disappear. It was a transitional year of creation.

“Mississippi is always at a loss,” said Michel Colombier, the state’s longtime abortion organizer. The current difference is how the limits are widespread.

Activists are trying to imagine a future without the Roe v. Wade case, where Mississippi and its neighbors are no longer protected by abortion rights.

As part of that, it means training people on how to use Plan B, the so-called “morning after pill,” which can prevent pregnancy if taken within 3 days of unprotected sex. Known as sisters to support the growth and organization of all women, the Colon organization is working with local churches to support the distribution of pills.

Next, there are efforts to establish an abortion network.

Organizers and the Abortion Fund are working to build relationships with out-of-state clinics, allowing people to travel elsewhere for abortion if Mississippi outlaws abortion. Can help.

And they are trying to spread the awareness of so-called “self-managed abortion”. This is taking a drug-based abortion drug at home. This, if done correctly, is a safe option for people before the 10th week of pregnancy. (Safe self-administered drug abortion in the first semester is approved by the World Health Organization.)

Legally, a person who is not a doctor cannot recommend a series of medications to treat the condition. However, it is permissible to talk about the possibility of self-managed abortion. Five states criminalize self-managed abortion. Mississippi is not one of them.

However, to find a pill, you need to know who knows where to get it, or who has access to an online retailer, and how much it costs. It assumes that the pill is still a viable option because someone is early enough to get pregnant. And even in states where the practice is not a crime, those who attempt a self-managed abortion can still run the risk of prosecution.

“It will be challenging,” Colon said. “But why do you say no? How can you help someone?”

This article was reported by The 19th, a non-partisan, non-profit newsroom that works with The Guardian to cover gender, politics, and policy. For more information, please visit and

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