Music blared from a portable stereo outside the clinic Tuesday, as it often does to drown out the sounds of demonstrators who might try to yell at people inside. The clinic doesn't see patients every day it's open, and Tuesday was one of those days with no appointments. Still, several employees were there, eating doughnuts as they watched the demonstrations through tinted windows.
Clinic owner Diane Derzis said the anniversary of Roe v. Wade is "bittersweet" because Mississippi and other states have put many restrictions on abortion over the years, including 24-hour waiting periods.
"For us, it's a celebration of 40 years of safe medical services," Derzis said inside the building.
The clinic filed a federal lawsuit last summer to fight a 2012 state law that could eventually close it. The law requires anyone doing abortions at the clinic to be an OB-GYN with privileges to admit patients to a local hospital. Derzis has said the three physicians who do most of the abortions at the clinic have been denied the privileges at every Jackson-area hospital where they applied.
Admitting privileges can be difficult to obtain, either because hospitals won't grant them to out-of-state physicians or because religious-affiliated hospitals might refuse association with physicians who do elective abortions.
One bill filed in the Legislature this year would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Another would regulate drugs that are used to induce abortions. Similar proposals died in 2012.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has said repeatedly that he wants Mississippi to be abortion-free and that he would sign additional abortion restrictions into law.
Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus