Judge exempts clinic from enforcement of law requiring their doctors adhere to standards

In Mississippi a law was passed stating that operators of clinics that perform abortions must have doctors that are licensed OB-GYN’s and that those doctors have admission privileges at local hospitals. The reason for that should be obvious – if something goes wrong during one of their office procedures, they need to be able to transfer their patients to a local hospital to provide treatment beyond what these clinics are capable of. The Jackson Women’s Health Organization has, apparently, been unable to procure those privileges and they sued in court to halt the enactment of the law. They sorta won:

A federal judge on Friday allowed Mississippi’s anti-abortion law to take effect but said the state’s only clinic can remain open and will not face any penalties as it tries to comply with new requirements.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III gave the clinic and the state each a partial victory with his ruling on the clinic’s request for a preliminary injunction. The law requires anyone who does abortions at the clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. The clinic’s two out-of-state OB-GYNS don’t have those privileges and have had difficulty getting them from local hospitals.

The ruling gives the clinic time to seek the privileges during the next several months. Jordan wrote that the dispute over the law is a “fluid situation.”

The story doesn’t say, and I think it’s certainly pertinent, how much time the clinic had between the point they were notified that they would need these privileges and the moment that said requirement would be enforced. Obviously, if the law went into effect 2 weeks after it was signed by the Governor then that’s unreasonable to hold them liable for the requirement. If, on the other hand, they’ve had 6 months and they chose to engage a lawyer to fight the law rather than do what was needed to gain the privileges then that’s a completely different matter and they should be required to either be in compliance or halt operations.

The clinic is being given about 10 months to acquire the privileges, but, according to the state’s health officer, they would also get more time to run another appeal through the state’s court system. That seems awfully open-ended to me. If a private enterprise were serving alcohol and they weren’t in compliance with the state’s licensing requirements, I doubt very seriously they’d be allowed to continue operations while they worked their way through the process. And, even if they were, they wouldn’t be allowed to engage in a continuous appeal process to forestall their compliance indefinitely. I fail to understand why this should be held any differently.

The clinic has, supposedly, applied to local hospitals for the privileges they need. Get this:

The clinic said its OB-GYNs have applied for admitting privileges at most Jackson-area hospitals but haven’t received responses. When clinic employees called a Catholic hospital to ask about applying for privileges, clinic owner Diane Derzis recently said, “We were told not to bother.”

No shit. Why don’t you call the local Alcoholics Anonmous chapter and request the ability to set up a bar on premise and serve cocktails while you’re at it? No, pardon me; this is worse. AA members aren’t avoiding alcohol for religious reasons like Catholics are avoiding becoming part of the abortion industry. And virtually everyone in the United States is completely aware of the Catholic position on the matter. So yes, they shouldn’t bother and they shouldn’t act either surprised or afronted. What someone should be finding out is why the non-religious hospitals aren’t responding to the request. That would have been a good question to ask, but since this was a story reported and written by the Associated Press I’m not surprised they put the emphasis on the Catholic hospital and left the others out of it. Might spoil the narrative.

The key question I want to ask is why the judge feels it’s ok to exempt an outfit from the enforcement of a law – indefinitely, I might add – when he also rules that the law should be permitted to go onto the books? Equal protection, much?

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