In 2012 Mississippi Lieutenant Gov. Tate Reeves officially rejected Dr. Carl Reddix’s nomination to the Mississippi Board of Public Health, stating that despite his nomination by former Gov. Haley Barbour, his association with Jackson Women’s Health Organization, an abortion clinic, disqualified him from the position.
Now abortion will be come into play again, as Republican Gov. Phil Bryant nominates Terri Herring, national director for the Pro-Life America Network and high-profile Mississippi anti-choice activist, to join the board for a six-year term.
“Lt. Gov. Reeves had concerns about the appointment because of [Reddix’s] affiliation with the abortion clinic and wanted Gov. Bryant to refer a qualified doctor to guide state health policy,” a spokesperson for Reeves said last April regarding the rejection of Reddix’s nomination. Now, with the appointment of Herring, it appears clear that “qualified doctors” are no longer needed on the board, as Herring reportedly has no medical background.
Whether or not Herring is actually qualified for the position is likely to be debated during the process. “Democratic Sen. Deborah Dawkins, who supports abortion rights, says she wants to know whether Herring is qualified to serve,” the Associated Press reports.
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Herring is the latest in a string of anti-choice activists to be appointed to state medical boards. An anti-choice protester in Iowa was blocked from nomination for the Iowa state medical board last year, to be replaced instead by a local Catholic priest. More recently, the governor of Ohio proposed that Ohio Right to Life Executive Director Mike Godinakis be appointed to serve on that state’s medical board.