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July 11th, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Miss. Rep. Mims: State law on abortion providers 'a health care issue for women'

A hearing on a Mississippi law today will decide the fate of the state’s last remaining abortion clinic.

The law requires that physicians at the Jackson Women's Health Organization be certified OB-GYN’s and have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

Supporters of the law say it’s a safety measure, but the clinic says it can’t get its out-of-state doctors hospital privileges.

The law was suspended by a federal judge on July 1, the day it was supposed to take effect. The same judge will preside over today's hearing, to determine whether or not to lift to that suspension.

“We do believe this is a health care issue for women,” Representative Sam Mims, the law’s author, tells Soledad O’Brien on Starting Point today.

The law, titled HB1390, includes strict regulations that make it difficult for the clinic to comply. Out-of-state doctors who perform abortions have trouble getting admitting privileges at hospitals because many have religious affiliations.

Rep. Mims notes that the clinic had over 75 days to comply, and that the law passed with bipartisan support.

Leola Reiss, the Vice President of External Affairs at Planned Parenthood Southeast, does not buy Rep. Mims’ argument.

“If the policymakers and lawmakers inMississippireally cared about health care, they wouldn’t have spent so much time regulating abortion services,” says Reiss. She adds that too much time has been spent on what she calls a very safe procedure, and that other health care disparities and crises need to be tended to.

Soledad points out that requiring doctors to have admitting privileges seems reasonable to some people, but Reiss says it isn’t medically necessary. She thinks it’s time for government to do what Planned Parenthood does every day, which is offer reproductive health care to women, especially inMississippi.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mississippi currently has the highest teenage birth rate in the country, with 55 births per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19 in 2010, 60% higher than the U.S. average (34.3 in 1,000).

Filed under: Abortion
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