10-day clock starts on closing Mississippi abortion clinic

Published 8:03 am Monday, June 27, 2022

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has taken a step to activate a law that will ban most abortions in the state.

The 2007 state law says the Mississippi attorney general must publish an administrative notice if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

The court overturned Roe on Friday in a case that originated in Mississippi. Fitch, a Republican, published the notice Monday.

The law says that 10 days after publication of the attorney general’s notice, Mississippi will ban most abortions except for pregnancies that endanger the woman’s life or those cause by rape reported to law enforcement.

Diane Derzis is the owner of Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, Jackson Women’s Health Organization. She has said the clinic will close when the law takes effect. With the 10-day timeline, the law should take effect July 7.

The clinic has continued to see patients since the court’s ruling on Friday.

In Tennessee, a so-called trigger law will go into effect that bans all abortions in the state except when necessary to prevent death or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

Doctors could be charged with a felony for providing an abortion under this law.

It’s unclear if the trigger law conflicts with the 2020 law banning most abortions at about six weeks.

The state’s attorney general, a Republican, has not publicly weighed in. Meanwhile, Republicans are expected to continue to have supermajority control after this year’s midterm elections. Reproductive rights activists say they will direct patients seeking abortion to clinics in Illinois if Roe v. Wade is overturned, or to Florida, which would ban abortions at 15 weeks.

North Carolina and Virginia could also be options for women in eastern Tennessee.