JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The sponsor of Mississippi's new abortion law wants the state Health Department to immediately enforce the measure when it takes effect July 1.
But the Health Department generally allows 10 days for any facility it inspects to come into compliance with a law.
New restrictions could shut down the state's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization, a few miles north of the state Capitol.
The law requires anyone doing abortions in an abortion clinic to be an OB-GYN with admitting privileges at a local hospital. Such privileges can be difficult to obtain, because hospitals don't give them to out-of-state doctors or because religious-affiliated hospitals might not give them to doctors doing elective abortions.
The clinic's spokeswoman, Betty Thompson, has said that the three physicians who do abortions at the clinic are all board-certified OB-GYNs and have applied for admitting privileges at Jackson-area hospitals.
The sponsor of the new law, House Public Health Committee Chairman Sam Mims, R-McComb, sent a letter this week to the state health officer, Dr. Mary Currier, saying there's no reason to delay enforcement.
"I am certainly aware that the Health Facilities Licensure Division is responsible for regulatory and enforcement duties on many types of facilities and does so with a limited number of employees," Mims wrote in the letter, which he also sent to The Associated Press. "However, as the author of HB1390, this legislation was one of my priorities as chairman of the Public Health and Human Services Committee, and I consider it an important accomplishment."
July 1 is on a Sunday, when most state government offices are closed. The clinic is also closed on Sundays, according to its website.
Health Department spokesman Liz Sharlot said the clinic could be inspected Monday, July 2.
"We will be inspecting the facility as soon as the law goes into effect to ensure the facility is in compliance. And then if they are not in compliance, they will be given 10 days to come into compliance," Sharlot said Friday.
Thompson did not immediately return calls seeking comment Friday. The clinic's owner, Diane Derzis, has said she will file a lawsuit if the clinic is unable to comply with the new law.