JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi lawmakers have passed a bill that would require any doctor performing abortions to be a board-certified OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Senators passed the bill Wednesday, but it was held for the possibility of more debate. It passed the House on March 13.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said Tuesday that he intends to sign the bill into law once it hits his desk.
The bill's supporters say it could shut Mississippi's only remaining abortion clinic, which is in Jackson.
Senate Public Health Committee Chairman Dean Kirby, R-Pearl, said he believes none of those performing abortions at the clinic have the certification required under the bill.
However, the clinic administrator has told The Associated Press that all of the physicians who perform abortions at the clinic are certified OB-GYNs, but only one of them has hospital admitting privileges.
Sen. Kenny Wayne Jones, D-Canton, asked Kirby whether putting more regulations on the abortion clinic could cause it close, and whether that could then cause women to try to perform their own abortions.
"That's what we're trying to stop here, the coat-hanger abortions," Kirby said. "The purpose of this bill is to stop back-room abortions."
Jackson resident Michelle Colon of Jackson, who has protested against abortion regulations, questioned why lawmakers are singling out abortion providers for the hospital-admissions regulation. She said other types of doctors, including plastic surgeons, could do outpatient surgery that causes unexpected complications.
"Everyone knows that if a doctor here comes out and says that they're doing abortions at the clinic, their quote-unquote 'application' for admitting privileges is going to be shuffled under the rug," Colon said Tuesday at the Capitol.
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