A deflection-limiting clevis includes a substantially cylindrical base with a pair of clevis arms extending therefrom, a clevis axle extending between distal ends of the clevis arms and a pair of stops located on interior portions of the clevis arms between the base and the axle. The stops are dimensioned and located to engage respective tangs of a pair of jaws, which are mounted on the axle, when the jaws are deflected across the center line of the clevis. A first embodiment of the clevis may be used with or without a conventional flat needle between the jaws. In a second embodiment of the clevis, a cross member is located between the clevis arms proximal of the clevis axle and distal of the cylindrical base. The cross member may be used to engage the proximal end of a shortened flat needle which is mounted between the jaws and is also used to engage the tangs of the jaws when the jaws are rotated about the axle to a point of deflection. A third embodiment of the invention combines aspects of the first and second embodiments and includes both a pair of stops located on interior portions of the clevis arms between the base and the axle and a cross member located between the stops and the cylindrical base. The third embodiment allows allowing the use of a shortened flat needle while also allowing some deflection of the jaws.