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Federal judge to determine fate of Mississippi's last abortion clinic
The Jackson Women's Health Organization is the only clinic that provides abortions in the state of Mississippi.
July 11th, 2012
11:42 AM ET

Federal judge to determine fate of Mississippi's last abortion clinic

By Rich Phillips, CNN

Jackson, Mississippi (CNN) - A federal judge will decide Wednesday whether Mississippi's only abortion clinic can continue to stay open under a temporary order or whether it should permanently shut its doors under a new state law.

The law, which took effect July 1, requires all abortion providers in Mississippi to be certified obstetrician/gynecologists with privileges at local hospitals. Doctors at Jackson Women's Health Organization, the only abortion provider in the state, travel in from other states, and only one of its doctors is authorized to practice at a nearby hospital.

Supporters of the new law say it is intended to protect women from unscrupulous practitioners, but others say it's just another step to outlaw abortions in the state. Even Republican Gov. Phil Bryant called it "the first step in a movement, I believe, to do what we campaigned on: to say that we're going to try to end abortion in Mississippi."

Since the law went into effect, the Jackson Women's Health Organization has remained open under a federal judge's temporary order blocking enforcement of the law until Wednesday's hearing. The clinic is trying to comply with the law, according to owner Diane Derzis, but it has been hampered by red tape and the cumbersome application process to get hospital privileges.

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Filed under: Politics • Where we live • Women
Florida charges 13 in death of FAMU drum major
Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion died in November after a hazing ritual on a band bus.
May 2nd, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Florida charges 13 in death of FAMU drum major

By Rich Phillips, CNN

(CNN)–Florida authorities have brought charges against 13 people in what they called the hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion, a prosecutor announced Wednesday.

"Robert Champion died as a result of being beaten," State Attorney Lawson Lamar told reporters. "His death is not linked to one sole strike, but is attributed to multiple blows."

Champion died after collapsing on a bus that was carrying members of FAMU's Marching 100 back from a football game. Medical examiners ruled his death a homicide, saying he died "within an hour of a hazing incident during which he suffered multiple blunt trauma blows to his body."

Opinion: What I learned from the FAMU marching band

Some university band members have said the 26-year-old died after taking part in an annual rite of passage called "Crossing Bus C," an initiation process in which pledges attempt to run down the center aisle from the front door of the bus to the back while being punched, kicked and assaulted by senior members.

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Filed under: Black in America • Bullying • Education • How we live