Mississippi state officials react to Supreme Court Ruling

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www.wxxv25.com – WXXV Staff – 2022-06-24 14:35:08

Governor Tate Reeves says this is a ‘joyous day.’ He released a statement minutes after the decision regarding Roe v. Wade was announced, praising Supreme Court justices for the ruling.

But he warns, “the work is not over yet.”

Governor Reeves says, “The Pro-Life Movement must dedicate itself to ensuring mothers and their babies receive the support they both need during pregnancy and after. Mississippi’s…

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You don’t know the MS Gulf Coast until…


by Kathryn Winter, Our Mississippi Home

I’m sitting here, writing this on a hot summer’s day, when I realize I have so many great memories of the Coast during the summer, such as taking Sea and Sail camp (as many Coast kids grow up doing.) We survive the summer heat, and then comes football season, and while we don’t get much of a fall season, I remember some Halloweens being super cold while others were pretty warm.


This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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Overturn of Roe vs. Wade leads to reactions across Mississippi


rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-06-24 13:07:06

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One Of The Most Unique Restaurants In Mississippi Is In A Farmers Market


by Daniella DiRienzo, Only In Your State

When you walk around a Mississippi farmers market, there are a couple of things sure to happen: you’ll find lots of great stuff and you’ll realize how hungry you are. If the latter is a problem for you, we’ve got the solution – Raymond Farmers Market! It’s got all the perks of a typical farmers market, in addition to an on-site diner. Between the…

This article first appeared on Only In Your State.

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Abortion doctor contemplates post-Roe future


Mississippi abortion doctor contemplates post-Roe future

When the U.S. Supreme Court ended the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, Dr. Cheryl Hamlin was at her computer researching ways to expand access to medication abortion in a post-Roe country.

Since 2017, the Boston-based OB-GYN has traveled to Mississippi once a month to provide abortions at the state’s only abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, also known as the Pink House. The clinic is part of the case at the center of the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday morning. 

“I didn’t expect it today, and I guess I was still holding out hope, so now we can let that go I guess,” she told Mississippi Today.

Abortion rights advocates in Mississippi expect that medication that can end a pregnancy under 11 weeks will become the cheapest and most accessible form of the procedure in the state. Websites like Plan C provide information about online pharmacies that can ship the pills, and Austria-based Aid Access provides prescriptions for people living anywhere in the United States, including Mississippi. 

Mississippi’s trigger ban applies to medication abortion, but it’s not clear how the state could stop the flow of pills through the mail given that pharmacies and providers can be based overseas and following their own country’s laws. Hamlin hopes to get involved in efforts to help people get the pills.

“That’s kind of what I was in the middle of when I heard the news, so I guess I’ll go back to that,” she said.

During her most recent shift in Jackson, in early June, Hamlin knew she might never work at the Pink House again. But when she asked the clinic director Shannon Brewer if she ought to make plans to return in July, Brewer said yes, so Hamlin booked another ticket just in case Roe stood.

Now, she’s hoping to travel to Las Cruces, New Mexico, instead. The Pink House’s out-of-state doctors, leadership and some staff are planning to move there to open a new clinic they’re calling Pink House West, about an hour from El Paso. 

When she began working in Mississippi, Hamlin was struck by how lack of access to health care shaped her patients’ trajectories to the clinic. Maybe they didn’t have a regular OB-GYN, or weren’t sure how to get contraceptives without health insurance. 

During her recent shifts in Jackson, she had been careful to explain that Roe could soon be overturned, forcing the Pink House to close. But many people who came to the clinic didn’t know that. 

Now, Hamlin was afraid for the women of Mississippi. 

“They’ll either have to be under the radar and go to another state or they’ll have to somehow get pills,” she said. “Sometimes they’ll need medical care but they’ll be afraid to get it. Some people won’t be able to get access. They’ll continue a pregnancy that they won’t be able to afford or physically continue. And I have no doubt that women having miscarriages, and it’s going to be mostly poor and women of color, are going to be scrutinized for their miscarriages, because there’s no way to tell the difference.”

The doctor said she hopes the ruling will energize supporters of abortion rights. She wants to see the right to abortion restored across the country.

“It took them 50 years to overturn it,” she said. “I don’t want it to take 50 years again, because I won’t be alive.” 

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Mississippi politicians, advocates react to SCOTUS abortion decision


Mississippi politicians, advocates react to SCOTUS abortion decision

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that established a person’s right to an abortion. Mississippi will likely be one of 13 states to ban the abortion procedure immediately due to a trigger law passed by legislators in 2007.

Mississippi Today is compiling a list of statements from politicians, advocates and others:

Attorney General Lynn Fitch

Gov. Tate Reeves

U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo

Speaker of the House Philip Gunn

State Auditor Shad White


In a phone interview with Mississippi Today, Colón vowed to defy the ruling and continue working to provide abortion access for Mississippians.

“What I will be doing is what I have been doing, and that is focusing all of my attention and all of my efforts and all of my resources on making sure that Mississippians can access the abortion health care that they need and deserve… If they want to go a clinic, I’m going to help them. If they want to self manage their abortion, I’m going to help them do that as well.”

ACLU of Mississippi

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker

“This is a momentous day for our nation, and Mississippi led the charge. This decision is an answered prayer, marking the beginning of the next chapter in our fight to protect the unborn,” said Wicker. “The Court’s ruling confirms what many legal experts have known for decades – that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and the power to set abortion policy should rest with the people and their elected representatives.”

Converge Access, the non-profit administrator of federal family planning funds in Mississippi

Statement from co-founders Jamie Bardwell and Danielle Lampton

“We believe every person deserves access to the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization will lead to devastating impacts across Mississippi, particularly for people who are low-income and uninsured and unable to travel hundreds of miles for health care. Today, we grieve for our neighbors in Mississippi and across the South.

Mississippi is one of only 12 states that still hasn’t expanded Medicaid coverage for eligible low-income people. This failure exacerbates health disparities that primarily harm Black Mississippians. Even more incredulous is the state’s refusal to extend Medicaid coverage for 12 months after a baby is born, cutting off coverage at 60 days postpartum. While policymakers claim they care for the health and well-being of children and families, their actions demonstrate otherwise. In a state where Black women are three times more likely to die in childbirth than White women, a lack of expanded postpartum care is a direct attack on families.

The Dobbs decision will increase the demand for contraception in Mississippi. As the Title X grantee in Mississippi, Converge remains dedicated to supporting clinics in our network so they can provide access to the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives as well as emergency contraception and other necessary preventive care. Federal law has long prohibited the use of Title X funds for abortion care.”

Rep. Zakiya Summers

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

U.S Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade


U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that established a person’s right to an abortion. 

Mississippi will likely be one of 13 states to ban the abortion procedure immediately due to a trigger law passed by legislators in 2007. 

“The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion.

Republican state officials in Mississippi lauded the decision on Friday.

“Today marks a new era in American history — and a great day for the American
people,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch in a statement. “I commend the Court for restoring constitutional principle and returning this important issue to the American people.”

Fitch did not say in her statement whether she has made the official determination that Roe has been overturned, which would effectively put Mississippi’s trigger law into effect.

“Our state’s historic case before the United States Supreme Court was the catalyst for overturning Roe v. Wade and has made the nation safer for children than it was just a few short hours ago,” said Gov. Tate Reeves.

Chief Justice John Roberts, concurring in the judgment issued by the Court, wrote that he would have taken “a more measured course” by getting rid of the fetal viability line established by Roe and Casey, but not overturning Roe entirely.

Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan wrote in their dissent that above all others, poor women who cannot afford to seek out an abortion in a state where it remains legal will be harmed by the Court’s ruling.

“As of today, this Court holds, a State can always force a woman to give birth, prohibiting even the earliest abortions,” the justices wrote. “A State can thus transform what, when freely undertaken, is a wonder into what, when forced, may be a nightmare.”

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization centers around Mississippi legislation passed and signed in 2018 called “The Act to Prohibit Abortion After 15 Weeks.” That law and an even stricter law that would ban abortion after six weeks were both ruled unconstitutional twice in the last few years — by both a U.S. District Court and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The U.S. Supreme Court in May 2021 decided it would take up Dobbs after meeting 13 times to consider it, a move many legal analysts called unprecedented. 

This marked the first time since the landmark 1973 abortion rights case Roe v. Wade that the U.S. Supreme Court has taken up a a pre-viability ban — a law that prohibits access to abortion based on the amount of time pregnant before the fetus is viable, or around 24 weeks.

The authors of Mississippi’s abortion ban bill said that one motivating factor for passing it was that a challenge to the law could make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Assuming this bill were to become law, these challenges take two to three years to make their way up to the Supreme Court,” state Sen. Joey Fillingane, the Republican who authored the bill, said at the time. “The United States Supreme Court … has indicated that the state has a couple of interests when it comes to regulating abortion. One is protecting the health and life of the mother. Another is protecting the potentiality of human life.”

After the New Orleans-based federal appeals court upheld the lower ruling by also overturning both Mississippi’s 15-week and six-week bans, Attorney General Lynn Fitch petitioned the Supreme Court to take the case, citing state’s interests in regulating abortion.

In Mississippi’s original appeal to the Supreme Court, Fitch argued the 15-week ban complied with existing precedent, and that the court should only overturn Roe if it concluded there was no other way to uphold the ban.

The particular question the justices agreed to decide in accepting the case was “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortions are unconstitutional.” 

Fitch then filed a brief on July 22, 2021, that abandoned this earlier, narrower focus on pre-viability restrictions.

In the brief, Fitch urged the Court to overturn Roe, calling it and further abortion-related rulings, most notably Planned Parenthood v. Casey, “egregiously wrong.” The state argued they recognize a right with no actual constitutional basis.

“They have proven hopelessly unworkable,” Fitch wrote. “They have inflicted profound damage … And nothing but a full break from those cases can stem the harms they have caused.”

When the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the Dobbs case on Dec. 1, 2021, Chief Justice John Roberts, viewed as the most moderate of the court’s conservative wing, appeared frustrated with what he suggested was a bait-and-switch strategy the state used to transform the case into a challenge to Roe and Casey. Roberts voiced his preference to stick to that narrower question on pre-viability bans, saying “the thing that is at issue before us today is 15 weeks.” 

Justice Samuel Alito rejected that position, saying “the only real options we have” are to reaffirm Roe or to overrule it.

This story will be updated.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

The Vibe Clothing Company promotes body positivity, family, faith, and fashion


by Judy Smith, Our Mississippi Home

“Your vibe attracts your tribe,” and it is that theory that this beloved and charming boutique based its shop upon. The Vibe Clothing Company in Hattiesburg seeks to bring the latest fashions to all women and embrace them as family rather than just customers. 

That is how the Vibe family decided upon their name; Amanda Williamson, a member of the Vibe tribe and digital marketing…

This article first appeared on Our Mississippi Home.

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What does abortion look like in Mississippi now?


What does abortion look like in Mississippi now?

Abortion will likely become illegal in Mississippi in almost all cases within the next few weeks.

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to abortion, Mississippi’s 2007 trigger law looks set to take effect. The law permits abortions only when the mother’s life is at risk or when the pregnancy resulted from a rape that has been reported to law enforcement. 

The trigger law takes effect 10 days after the attorney general issues a determination that Roe has been overturned. For the first time in 50 years, it will be nearly impossible to obtain a legal abortion in the state of Mississippi.

On Friday morning, Attorney General Lynn Fitch released a statement praising the ruling.

“Roe v Wade is now behind us, consigned to the list of infamous cases that
collapsed under the weight of their errors,” the statement said. “This decision is a victory not only for women and children, but for the Court itself.”

But the statement does not constitute her official determination that Roe has been overturned.

“We intend to give the opinion and the analysis contemplated by the law the thoughtful attention they deserve,” chief of staff Michelle Williams said in an email.

Diane Derzis, the owner of Mississippi’s only abortion clinic, the facility at the center of the Dobbs case, has said it will close. She plans to open a new clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, about an hour from El Paso. 

In 2019, the state passed a law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks of pregnancy – before many people know they are pregnant. That law contains no exception for people who have been raped, meaning victims would have an extremely narrow window during which they could obtain an abortion.

But advocates are determined to maintain access to the procedure, which about 5,000 Mississippians obtained in 2020, according to the Mississippi Department of Health. 

The rate of abortions in Mississippi was 4.3 abortions occurring in the state per 1,000 reproductive-age women in 2017– one of the lowest in the country. But the rate of Mississippians receiving abortions was 8.3 per 1,000 reproductive-age women, according to the Guttmacher Institute, indicating that many Mississippians have already been seeking abortions out of state. (The national rate was 11.4 per 1,000 reproductive-age women in 2019.)

The trigger law and fetal heartbeat ban apply to all forms of abortion, including medication abortions that the World Health Organization says can safely end a pregnany up to 12 weeks. Pro-life lawmakers see a need for stricter laws against the pills, which can relatively easily be obtained online for about $100 in many cases.

Sen. Joey Fillingane, R-Sumrall, previously told Mississippi Today that legislation specific to medication abortion could direct law enforcement to focus on the issue, perhaps with funding to support enforcement efforts. 

But reproductive rights advocates and many legal experts say it will be nearly impossible to keep medication abortion out of the state, given that state police can’t search people’s mail. Local abortion rights activists vow to help maintain access to the pills.

“We are going to do it right under their noses, and they won’t know, or they will know it, but they’re not going to be able to prove it,” said Michelle Colón, executive director of SHERo Mississippi, a nonprofit that aims to promote leadership among Black women and girls in the state.

Medication abortions already accounted for the majority of abortions performed at Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

Abortion funds in the state and across the country also plan to continue raising money to help people pay to travel out of state for the procedure. For many Mississippians, the closest place to obtain a legal abortion will be southern Illinois. Every neighboring state is also set to ban abortion in almost all cases.

CHOICES: Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, a clinic that is more accessible for many north Mississippians than the Jackson clinic, has announced plans to set up a new location in Carbondale, Illinois – a six-hour drive from Jackson. 

In the days after the leak of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe, Gov. Tate Reeves appeared on several national television programs and claimed Mississippi would focus on “helping those moms that maybe have an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.” 

He also declined to rule out prohibitions on certain forms of contraceptives, like Plan B and IUDs. He later said he is “not interested in banning contraceptives” but refused to answer a question from Mississippi Today about what, exactly, he considers to be a contraceptive.

Republican leaders have offered few proposals to address the state’s abysmal infant and maternal health outcomes. This year, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, killed a Republican-led proposal to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months after childbirth. 

Mississippi has the country’s highest infant mortality rate and one of the country’s highest pre-term birth rates. Its maternal mortality rate is higher than the national average, which is the highest in the developed world

Black women in Mississippi are about three times as likely as white women to die of pregnancy-related complications. 

The Legislature recently passed a bill that will provide a $3.5 million tax credit for crisis pregnancy centers, loosely regulated nonprofits that offer counseling and resources for pregnant women but which sometimes peddle inaccurate information about abortion. 

Laura Knight, president of the advocacy group Pro-Life Mississippi, said in an email to Mississippi Today that that legislation was “one small step” toward addressing the state’s high infant mortality rate.

“As a registered nurse, when I look at the data, it seems to me that a very complex set of factors – one of them being that we also have the highest rate of out-of-wedlock births – contribute to this problem,” she said of infant deaths in Mississippi. “There is not going to be a simple solution.”

Knight also said Mississippi’s maternal mortality rate is “already very low.”

“According to the CDC, the leading cause of death for women of reproductive age is unintentional accidents, followed by cancer and heart disease,” she wrote. “It seems we’d want to concentrate our efforts on those problem areas.”

Fitch’s statement pledged to “renew our commitment to weaving a safety net that helps women in challenging circumstances and gives their children life and hope.” But it offered few specifics.

Republican leaders, including Gov. Tate Reeves, have made similar claims in recent weeks. In an op-ed earlier this month, Reeves said he wants to “strengthen our social services infrastructure” and “build grant programs” for expectant mothers following the likely end to legal abortion in Mississippi. 

But his office did not respond to questions about how much money his administration would invest in those programs and whether the governor would support extending postpartum Medicaid coverage for new moms – a measure that died in the Legislature this year. About 60% of pregnant women in Mississippi are on Medicaid.

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

Republicans get second chance to win in Districts 2, 3, 4 runoffs


rssfeeds.clarionledger.com – Mississippi Clarion Ledger – 2022-06-23 21:00:38

Republican races in three of four congressional districts in Mississippi were too close to call in the June 7 primaries. A runoff is set for June 28 to determine who will be on the ballot in November to represent the state in Washington, D.C.

Fighting to keep a foothold in their districts are incumbents Michael Guest, in District 3 and Steven Palazzo in District 4.

The third race is in District…

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