JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – For volunteers at the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, navigating around pro-life protesters is nothing new. But this week amidst the coronavirus pandemic, protestors have taken on a new purpose.
“They’re also screaming at patients if they go in there that they’re going to get COVID-19,” said Derenda Hancock, a volunteer escort at the Pink House.
Officials at all levels are recommending social distancing and the cancellation of any non-essential medical appointments, which leaves us with the question: does this include abortions?
“I would not consider it essential,” said Doug Hiser, a protester. “I think you can wait. Of course, I’d be of the opinion that it’s never essential to kill a child.”
Hiser said the clinic has been practicing in unsanitary, unfair conditions. But volunteer escorts at the clinic insist that everything is up to code.
“We are spacing our patients,” Hancock said. “We are doing staggered appointment times. This clinic has taken every possible safety precaution for their patients, as they always do.”
Governor Tate Reeves’ spokesperson Renae Eze said, “The governor is committed to making Mississippi the safest place not only for an unborn child, but all who call our state home. Following the guidelines of MSDH and our healthcare experts, we are asking that all elective surgeries be postponed to protect health and safety of our healthcare workers and reserve medical supplies for our ongoing response to slow the spread.”
But some, like Susan Weand, are saying that it’s not an aggressive enough response.
“Mississippi needs to do what’s right,” Weand said. “Shut this down for the protection of all of us as citizens but mainly for the protection of the unborn that’s what we’re here for.”
We’ve talked with the MSDH. Officials said decisions on whether surgeries are elective remain up to the individual provider.