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The scene at the Mississippi clinic at the center of the abortion ruling

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The clinic at the center of today's Supreme Court abortion decision, Dobbs v. Jackson, is Jackson Women's Health Organization. It is the last clinic providing abortions in Mississippi. It has been fighting to preserve abortion rights but lost today.

WWNO's Rosemary Westwood is there at the clinic. Hey, Rosemary.

ROSEMARY WESTWOOD, BYLINE: Hello.

KELLY: Hey. Tell me what you're seeing, what you are hearing there.

WESTWOOD: Yeah. So right now, the day is kind of winding down at the clinic. There are still a few anti-abortion protesters out here talking to women as they're leaving from their appointments.

Earlier this morning, there was quite a scene. My colleague Kobee Vance from MPB was here, and he saw protesters standing on ladders trying to look over the fence that surrounds the clinic to talk to people inside. After the court decision came down, anti-abortion protesters actually blocked the clinic off, tried to block people from going inside. Some tried to tell patients that the clinic was closed and that abortions were illegal. And neither things are true right now in Mississippi because the trigger law banning most abortions that is going to take effect here won't take effect for 10 days until after - 10 days after this decision comes down, so 10 days from now.

KELLY: OK. OK. So for now, the clinic remains open. They will continue providing abortions for the next 10 days.

WESTWOOD: Yes.

KELLY: There was a press conference today. The owner and the director of the clinic came out. What'd they say?

WESTWOOD: That's right. They came out and stood outside the clinic in the baking sun here in Mississippi, talking to national media outside this huge pink building. It's nicknamed the Pink House. It's, like, an iconic building for abortion rights in the state. And Diane Derzis, the clinic owner, was defiant. She said, we're not giving up. She said she wanted people to wake up, to realize that they - that, as she sees it, birth control could be next in terms of rights to be taken away, that other rights could be walked back.

And then Shannon Brewer, the clinic director, got on a video call. She's actually in New Mexico, where they're opening another clinic. They're calling it the Pink House West. And Shannon had a similar message of ensuring they can provide abortions for Mississippi women there.

KELLY: So they are defiant, it sounds like. But practically speaking, what does this mean for women in Mississippi?

WESTWOOD: I mean, it means one of three things. Either you travel outside of the state to get an abortion - which means you have the finances, child care, time off work to do that - it means you might try to order an abortion pill online and take the abortion pill yourself at home - that's already illegal in Mississippi, but we know women are already doing that, and the expectation is more will - or they'll be forced to stay pregnant, and that could have huge implications for their jobs, for their families, for their health. Mississippi has among the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. So the repercussions for those people could be extensive.

KELLY: And what happens to the clinic 10 days from now?

WESTWOOD: It's going to close. This clinic cannot stay open, Diane, the owner, tells me, without providing abortions. She says that this has been a beacon, you know, for abortion rights in the state, but it's served its purpose and that the people who have made it so special will continue to fight for abortion rights at this New Mexico clinic and at others that she hopes to open.

KELLY: WWNO's Rosemary Westwood reporting on a dramatic day there in Jackson, Miss. Thank you.

WESTWOOD: Thanks very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rosemary Westwood
Rosemary Westwood is the public and reproductive health reporter for WWNO/WRKF. She was previously a freelance writer specializing in gender and reproductive rights, a radio producer, columnist, magazine writer and podcast host.