Jackson Women’s Health Organization Director Shannon Brewer (right) and The Pink House defenders spoke hour after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade (Pictures: Jackson Women’s Health Organization/AP)
The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade has had reverberations across the US and world – but perhaps nowhere has it hit harder than at The Pink House, the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi.
Situated in Jackson, The Pink House was at the center of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, its official name. The court on Friday ruled 6-3 in the case in favor of Mississippi, allowing the state to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. It effectively struck down its landmark 1973 Roe ruling that granted a constitutional right to the procedure.
The clinic kept its doors open – with Pink House Defenders volunteers escorting women past pro-life protesters – even as it braced for the court’s decision, which a May leak showed was in the state’s favor.
Mississippi is one of 13 states with a so-called trigger law, meaning abortion access will be banned almost immediately with the Roe reversal. That means The Pink House will be forced to shutter in a matter of days.
Surrounded by volunteer clinic escorts, Derenda Hancock, co-organizer of the Pink House Defenders, choked up as she expressed her disappointment at the Supreme Court’s ruling (Picture: AP)
‘The law in Mississippi says we have 10 days to remain in business from the moment the Attorney General signs the certification,’ Diane Derzis, owner of Jackson Women’s Health Organization, said during a press conference outside the clinic on Friday afternoon.
‘I would bet money that that certification was waiting in the office today. So that means that we will be open for the next 10 days, and we will be seeing patients for the next 10 days.’
Asked what will become of The Pink House if and when staff leave, as well as what it stands for, Derzis told Metro.co.uk: ‘The Pink House, while it’s a wonderful building, is just a building’.
The people… will continue because that’s our spirit,’ she said. ‘That’s what we do. We do abortion.’
The Pink House Defenders long volunteered to escort women past pro-life protesters, into the Jackson Women’s Health Organization (Picture: MetroUK/Jessica Kwong)
Dervis concluded: ‘The Pink House – we’ll have pink houses all over this country.’
As Dervis spoke, the clinic’s director Shannon Brewer nodded.
‘We’re still here, we’re still fighting,’ Brewer said. ‘We’re just fighting in a different place.’
The Pink House Fund on Tuesday shared on social media that it is opening a clinic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, a state that has chosen to keep abortion legal throughout pregnancy.
Brewer, who shed tears during her remote address through Zoom, admitted that it has been a very long day and week for the clinic’s staff and volunteers.
‘Right now, today, is a tough day for me, for Diane, for everybody at the clinic,’ Brewer said. ‘We have been preparing, but nothin can really prepare you for the actual day that it will comes down.’
Speaking outside the clinic, Derenda Hancock, a co-organizer of the Pink House Defenders, said her group will be escorting women for the next 10 days – until they see through the last patient the clinic is able to take.
‘Even though the Pink House Defenders will be more or less laying down our torches, it doesn’t mean we’ll be done,’ said Hanock.
‘Stay tuned. We’re just now rebelling.’
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