JACKSON, Miss. -- Mississippi's only abortion clinic said it received notice Friday that the state Health Department intends to revoke its operating license.
However, the clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, is not expected to close anytime soon.
Under a state administrative procedures law, the clinic can remain open while it awaits a hearing by the department. That could be more than a month away.
Clinic owner Diane Derzis said this week that she expected the notice about a possible license revocation.
Health Department workers inspected the facility Jan. 16 to see if it had complied with a 2012 state law that requires anyone doing abortions at the clinic to be an OB-GYN with hospital admitting privileges.
Derzis said local hospitals would not issue privileges to out-of-state physicians who do most of the abortions at the clinic.
Admitting privileges can be difficult to obtain. Some hospitals won't issue them to out-of-state physicians, while hospitals that are affiliated with religious groups might not want to associate with anyone who does elective abortions.
"They were clear that they didn't deal with abortion and they didn't want the internal or the external pressure of dealing with it," Derzis told The Associated Press on Jan. 11.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who signed the 2012 law, has said repeatedly that he wants Mississippi to be abortion-free and that he'd shut the clinic if he had the power to do it.
Supporters of the law say it's intended to protect women's safety. Opponents say admitting privileges are unnecessary because the clinic has an agreement to transfer patients to a local hospital if an emergency arises; the patients would be tended by physicians on duty at the hospital.
The clinic filed a federal lawsuit last summer as the law was about to take effect, arguing that the law is unconstitutional because it would effectively block women's access to abortion in Mississippi by closing the facility where most of the 2,000-plus abortions a year are performed in the state. A 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade established the nationwide right to abortion.
U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III gave the facility time to try to comply with the law, blocking any criminal or civil penalties during that period. Clinic attorneys are asking Jordan to extend his injunction on the law.
The clinic filed a plan with the state Health Department showing that it intended to seek admitting privileges for its physicians, and the department allowed six months for that process, until Jan. 11. The Jan. 16 inspection was triggered by the clinic's missing the Jan. 11 deadline.
The Health Department wrote a letter Thursday that was delivered to the clinic Friday, showing the findings of the inspection. The department noted that none of the three physicians affiliated with the clinic have local hospital admitting privileges. It said one of the physicians previously had the privileges, but those had expired July 27.
The department also noted that the clinic had too few parking spaces available. State regulations require the clinic to be "located in an attractive setting with sufficient parking space provided." The department told the clinic to submit a plan within 10 days showing how it would correct the parking situation. The clinic's parking lot holds fewer than 20 cars.
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Earlier on HuffPost:
99 Problems (JAY-Z)
Eric Fehrnstrom, senior campaign adviser for Mitt Romney, <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2012/06/03/494238/fehrnstrom-shiny-objects-women/" target="_hplink">said on Sunday</a> that issues pertaining to women's reproductive rights, such as abortion and birth control, were "shiny objects" meant to distract voters from the real issues. "Mitt Romney is pro-life," he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "He'll govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy. This is not a social issue election."
The Senate will vote Thursday on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would expand and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and make it illegal for employers to punish women for bringing up pay disparity issues. Dana Perino, a Fox News contributor and former press secretary for President George W. Bush, <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/04/30/perino-equal-pay-issue-is-a-distraction-for-just-48-hours/" target="_hplink">called the equal pay issue</a> "a distraction" from the country's real financial problems last week. "Well, it's just yet another distraction of dealing with the major financial issues that the country should be dealing with," Perino said. "This is not a job creator."
Just My Imagination (The Temptations)
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), whose home state's legislature recently defunded Planned Parenthood and voted to pass a bill that would allow employers to deny women birth control coverage, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/26/john-mccain-war-on-women_n_1455591.html" target="_hplink">delivered a floor speech</a> in which he insisted that the war on women is something imaginary for Democrats to "sputter about." "My friends, this supposed 'War on Women' or the use of similarly outlandish rhetoric by partisan operatives has two purposes, and both are purely political in their purpose and effect: The first is to distract citizens from real issues that really matter and the second is to give talking heads something to sputter about when they appear on cable television," he said.
Butterfly Fly Away (Miley & Billy Ray Cyrus)
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tried to trivialize concerns about the legislative "war on women" by comparing it to a "war on caterpillars." "If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we'd have problems with caterpillars," Priebus <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-04-05/priebus-says-gender-battle-as-fictonal-as-caterpillar-war.html" target="_hplink">said in an April interview</a> on Bloomberg Television. "It's a fiction."
Distraction (Angels And Airwaves)
Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Steelman (R) took heat from her opponents in May when she contended that Democratic lawmakers' focus on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was "a distraction" from the issues they should be dealing with instead. "I think it's unfortunate that the Democrats have made a political football out of this thing, which I think is what they keep doing to distract from real problems that are facing our nation," she said in an interview with St. Louis Public Radio.
We Don't Care (Kanye West)
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) defended the Republican Party in April for going after insurance coverage for contraception by arguing that women don't actually care about contraception. "Women don't care about contraception," she said on ABC's The View. "They care about jobs and the economy and raising their families and all those other things."