Anti-abortion activist out front of Mississippi’s only remaining free-standing abortion clinic
Today I spent an hour talking with anti-abortion advocates out front of the Jackson Women’s Clinic the state’s last free-standing clinic providing abortions. I had come to talk with Roy McMillan who has been protesting in front of the clinic every day it sees patients for years and years and years. McMillan wasn’t there, but one of his associates quickly got him on the phone and handed it over to me.
He and his wife, Dr. Beverly McMillan, OB-GYN (who Roy called a “reformed abortionist”) supported the so-named personhood amendment last year in the state which would have outlawed most forms of hormonal birth control and in-vitro fertilization. The couple has been ill recently so haven’t been a presence at the clinic in the past weeks, but Roy is getting back there in the next day or so. He invited me over to speak to he and Dr. McMillan at their home – about a mile from the clinic – to do a proper interview.
During my conversation with McMillan, I watched the woman protestor follow couples, young women and men, as they walked into and out of the clinic – telling them “you don’t have to do this” and “you are already a mother.” In fact when I first approached, she told me, “you don’t have to do this.”
Before I left, I spoke with the male activist out front of the clinic. I thanked him for the use of his phone and time. I told him I appreciated his understanding I wasn’t there to just tell their side of the story, that I was there to talk about religion – for good or for ill – and its impact on sexual education and teen pregnancy. That one of the reasons I wanted to come to Mississippi was because it is listed as the most religious state in the country.
He said something then that surprised me. That Mississippi is listed as most religious but that just speaks to the number of churchgoers which is misleading. He chuckled a bit and said, “80% of Christians in Mississippi are riding church pews to hell.”