JACKSON, MS, July 1, 2013 ( – The owner of Mississipi’s last remaining abortion facility, embroiled in a legal battle to stay open after failing to meet tighter safety restrictions passed by the state last year, has praised a Texas lawmaker who filibustered to block similar regulations from being passed by a bipartisan majority last week.

Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat, made national headlines and spawned a pro-abortion Twitter hashtag, “#standwithwendy,” when she launched a multi-hour filibuster against a pro-life bill that would have banned abortions after 20 weeks except to save the life of the mother. It also tightened safety regulations on abortion clinics statewide.

The bill, which Republican Governor Rick Perry had requested as part of a special session, had the votes required to pass. However, because it did not reach the Senate for a vote until the final day of the session, Davis was able to prevent its passage by speaking continuously on the Senate floor for hours, until the clock ran out on the session.


“That just took so much strength of character,” Diane Derzis told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper.

“Mississippi is just the canary in the mine here,” she added, referring to a law passed there last year that will force her abortion facility to close if it cannot meet the new, tougher safety requirements.

The Mississippi law is similar to a provision in the Texas bill requiring abortionists to maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals. This has proven problematic for Derzis’s facility, as local hospitals have refused to grant the requested permissions to her stable of out-of-state abortionists, calling their work “inconsistent” with their mission as hospitals.

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With the help of pro-abortion advocacy group Center for Reproductive Rights, Derzis is suing the state of Mississippi to overturn the law. A hearing is scheduled for August 15.

Derzis previously owned an abortion business in Alabama that was ordered closed in 2012 after state investigators accused abortionist Bruce Norman of falsifying records of two women he injured during botched abortions. Norman, who is also the primary abortionist at Dervis’ clinic in Jackson, was banned from performing abortions in Alabama.

Safety inspectors also found numerous safety violations at the Alabama facility, enough to fill a 76-page report.

Alabama revoked the facility’s license, ordered it closed, and ruled that Derzis could have no further involvement in its operation. But Derzis tried to keep it open by having a close associate, Kelly Rainwater, named titular head of a “new” business.

As a condition of licensing, the state ordered Rainwater to bring the building up to code, but inspectors say that never happened, and that the facility continues to offer abortions without a license.

The state has once again sued to close the center down. That hearing is scheduled for August 5.  


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