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Austin Cline

Mississippi, Anti-Abortion State

By January 1, 2005

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It seems like Mississippi is one of the toughest, if not the toughest, state for women to get an abortion in. The legislature hasn't seen an anti-abortion measure that it doesn't like and there is a single abortion clinic for the entire population. Could this be where the majority of the nation is headed? Some hope so.

The State reports:

For both sides in the national debate over abortion, Mississippi has become Exhibit A. It is widely considered the state with the most thorough arsenal of laws, policies and public pressure aimed at curtailing the procedure. ... “Mississippi is the picture of the future,” said Susan Hill, a North Carolina-based businesswoman who owns several clinics, including the one in Jackson. “It’s the perfect laboratory for any restriction — there’s no way, politically, that it won’t sail through the legislature.”

Roy McMillan, an anti-abortion activist, is delighted that he no longer has to ponder which clinic to target. “Thankfully, we’ve arrived at a time I always wanted — when the women have to come through us,” said McMillan, dressed in a well-worn Santa Claus suit.

In Mississippi, any health care provider can refuse any abortion-related service (including referrals) for probably any reason. Before getting an abortion, women have to be told that the procedure might increase their risk of breast cancer — even though this contradicts what the National Cancer Institute has found. Other states have just one abortion clinic for everyone, but Mississippi is the most populous state where this situation exists. It really sounds like a poor place to have to live.

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