Warren 4th in state for women receiving abortions

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 16, 2003

Rankin, Hinds, Madison at top in procedures during 2001

[06/16/03] Roy McMillan said he wasn’t surprised to learn Warren County ranks fourth in the state in numbers of women receiving abortions.

“We watch Warren County people every day at the abortion clinics in Jackson,” he said.

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McMillan is director of the Jackson-based anti-abortion organization Christian Action Group. He is most active at the two abortion clinics in Jackson to which most women in Mississippi travel when seeking to end a pregnancy. McMillan said he has been arrested for trespassing 61 times outside those and other clinics. And he makes no apologies for what he does.

“You may think that it’s kind of crazy, but Dr. (Martin Luther) King was arrested for breaking unjust laws,” McMillan said. “Being a criminal doesn’t make you wrong.”

During his protest in Vicksburg, McMillan held graphic signs he said he knew were offensive, but were part of his message.

Women from Warren County, population 49,644, had 142 abortions in 2001, the most recent year for statistics.

Rankin County had 246 women receive abortions, Hinds County had 1,300 and Madison County had 244, records show.

McMillan’s group has about 250 activists who conduct sit-ins at abortion clinics and travel throughout the state raising awareness on the issue. He said his group will hold posters in the fall at nine colleges and universities in the state, including three college home football games. He said most of the press ignores him and his message because his signs are too graphic.

“Nobody can look at the posters and not believe abortion doesn’t kill,” he said.

Anti-abortion advocates are winning the fight in Mississippi, McMillan said. At one time Jackson had seven abortion clinics, but now it’s down to two.

Abortion also disproportionally affects minorities in Mississippi. Of the 142 reported from Warren County in 2001, 114 were listed as “non-white.” McMillan blames ministers for not being aggressive enough on the subject.

“I don’t think Vicksburg pastors don’t care for the most part,” he said.

The Center for Pregnancy Choices, 1905 Mission 66, offers women abortion alternatives, such as adoption. The center supports mothers who have their children through counseling and by providing diapers and other items.

Director Jenny Bennett said women have come into the center thinking they could get an abortion there. Whenever that happens she does her best to convince the woman to keep her child. She said she deals with many young women who don’t know which direction to turn after getting pregnant.

“They feel defeated when they come in here and they’re 15 years old,” Bennett said.

McMillan said he also encourages women who have had injuries from abortions to sue abortion clinics.