The Jackson Women’s Health Organization (JWHO) was founded over 17 years ago. Since 2002, it has been the only reproductive health center in the state of Mississippi that performs abortions.
In April 2012, Mississippi enacted HB 1390, which imposes restrictions on abortion providers in the state, including requiring physicians performing abortion to attain admitting privileges from a local hospital. In response to the law’s passage in 2012, abortion providers from the Jackson Women’s Health Organization have attempted to obtain admitting privileges from local hospitals, but have been denied privileges on the grounds that they perform abortions. Therefore, if the law goes into effect, it will effectively shut the clinic down.
The Center for Reproductive Rights and Dr. Willie Parker—one of JWHO’s physicians—successfully sued in federal district court to block enforcement of the law, therefore keeping JWHO open. The state appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which heard oral arguments in the case on April 28, 2014. The case was heard by judges E. Grady Jolly, Emilio Garza, and Stephen Higginson.
If the Fifth Circuit reverses the district court and upholds HB 1390, it would shut down the lone remaining clinic providing abortions in Mississippi, leaving the state as the first and only state in the country without a single abortion provider.
Learn more about the Jackson Women’s Health Organization in AFJ’s short documentary, Roe at Risk.