- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2022

The Mississippi abortion clinic at the center of the Supreme Court’s recent abortion ruling is moving to New Mexico, and a pro-life effort is moving with it.

Clinic building owner Diane Derzis said she has shut down Jackson’s Women’s Health Organization, the lead plaintiff in the Dobbs v. Jackson case, and plans to reopen in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Associated Press reported.

The controversial Dobbs ruling in June overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which legalized abortion across the country. As a result, abortion law will now depend on individual state laws.

The future clinic’s new neighbor will be a pro-life pregnancy center.

Mark Cavaliere, CEO of Southwest Coalition for Life, announced at a Tuesday rally that his organization has signed a lease for offices next door to the site of the Las Cruces Women’s Health Organization.

“We immediately came in and looked at what’s available. At 2908 [Hillrise Drive], the building that’s right over there with the palm trees, we were able to lease the building,” he told a group of several hundred people at the site. “Before they’ve even opened, we’re setting the stage.”

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The organization plans to open a pro-life women’s center at the location that will offer “comprehensive care for pregnant women [and] be able to actively and easily reach out to abortion minded women heading to the new abortion facility,” said a press release.

Ms. Derzis said that she began receiving calls to sell the Jackson clinic, known as the Pink House for its bright exterior paint, within minutes of the Supreme Court’s ruling June 24 in Dobbs v. Jackson. She said she didn’t know what the new owners plan to do with the building.

“I didn’t ask because I really didn’t care,” Ms. Derzis said. “It’s a great building.”

The abortion clinic stopped providing medication and surgical abortions on July 6, the day Mississippi’s trigger law took effect. The law, which is now being challenged in court, bars abortion with exceptions for rape and “the preservation of the mother’s life.”

Ms. Derzis isn’t the only one moving to Las Cruces. The town is poised to become the U.S. southwest abortion hub, thanks to its abortion-friendly laws and proximity to the Texas border.

New Mexico has no gestational limits on abortion and does not require parental notification for minors. Already, only about one in four women undergoing procedures in New Mexico is a resident, Mr. Cavaliere said.

“It seems like every few days we hear about a new abortion business coming to New Mexico,” he said. “We’re going from five abortion businesses in the state of New Mexico to tripling that number, possibly quadrupling that number. And it’s just been overwhelming.”

Another abortion provider making the move is the Texas-based Whole Women’s Health, which posted a fundraiser on GoFundMe to cover its relocation expenses. So far, the organization has raised $250,000.

“Opening a brick and mortar clinic site in New Mexico, where we already offer Virtual Services, will allow us to provide first and second trimester abortions to people from Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and elsewhere in the South where safe, legal abortion care is restricted,” said the fundraiser.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order June 27 protecting abortion providers from being disciplined or extradited for performing procedures on out-of-state residents.

“Today we have once again declared that we will take every available action to protect the rights and access to health care of anyone in New Mexico,” said Ms. Grisham. “As long as I am governor, abortion will continue to be legal, safe, and accessible in New Mexico.”

Pro-life groups responded by vowing to redouble their efforts in New Mexico, which Mr. Cavaliere called “the epicenter of post-Roe America.”

“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, and we’re going to need your help,” he told the group. “We’re going to need people to work and volunteer and staff this building. We’re going to need healthcare professionals to step up and say, we want to be part of this movement that provides better healthcare to restore the dignity, the sanctity of womanhood.”

Currently, pro-life pregnancy centers outnumber abortion facilities in New Mexico by three to one, according to Project Defending Life executive director Dominique Davis.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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