Senate Bill 2795, also known as the “Women’s Health Defense Act,” [PDF] passed in the Mississippi Senate yesterday on a 39 to 12 vote. The Mississippi State Medical Association, concerned that the regulations would potentially criminalize abortion providers, released a memo which stated, “Mississippi physicians have strong and serious concerns about SB 2795.” The language of the bill was modified to address these concerns and has since lost support from some abortion opponents that consider the bill that passed to be “watered down.”
Senate Bill 2795 could force abortion providers to follow outdated FDA guidelines for the prescription of mifepristone and misoprostol, abortion-inducing medications, and requires a physician to administer all doses. This would require women to go to four doctor appointments to complete a medical abortion, which would only be available within the first seven weeks after a woman’s last normal menstrual period. The Senate bill also requires that doctors report every prescription of mifepristone to the Mississippi Department of Health.
This bill is the just the latest attempt to eliminate abortion in the state of Mississippi. Though a “Personhood” Amendment was overwhelmingly defeated in 2011, in April 2012 Mississippi’s governor, Phil Bryant, signed House Bill 1390 into law. Under House Bill 1390, doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a local hospital and they must be board certified OB-GYNs. Currently both primary physicians at the state’s only abortion clinic are board certified, but have been denied privileges by every local hospital. As a result, the clinic is currently facing the threat of closure.