Missouri Abortion Practitioner Wants to Join Lawsuit Against Health Code

State   Steven Ertelt   Aug 30, 2007   |   9:00AM    WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
August 30,
2007

St. Louis, MO (LifeNews.com) — A Missouri abortion practitioner wants to join a lawsuit the Planned Parenthood abortion business has filed against a Missouri law protecting the health and safety of women. The statue in question makes sure abortion centers meet the same health requirements as legitimate medical facilities.

Allen Palmer, who operates a private abortion business in St. Louis, plans to appear in a federal court on Friday morning to argue that she should be allowed to participate in the case.

He also wants to overturn the health and safety law and get a judge to rule it’s unconstitutional.

Palmer wants the court to rule that the law should also be prohibited from being enforced at his abortion center as Planned Parenthood successfully got an injunction in its case.

The law was scheduled to take effect on Tuesday, but Planned Parenthood argued it would cost millions of dollars to refurbish its abortion centers in Columbia and Kansas City to meet the new requirements.

That would require the abortion business to close the facilities down.

However, U.S. District Judge Ortrie Smith, in a temporary ruling that will be decided at a later date, issued an injunction preventing the law from going into effect.

He appeared to buy into arguments Planned Parenthood lawyers made about how the ruling would play out between abortion centers that do just surgical or just non-surgical abortions. Judge Smith also said the law would harm women by reducing the number of abortion centers available to them.

Smith set a date for September 10 for a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for a permanent injunction.

Despite the ruling, Smith warned both sides not to read too much into it, according to an AP report.

"The state has a legitimate interest in regulating facilities that perform surgery, even if the facility in question performs surgical abortions," he said. "The court also believes the state may differentiate between facilities that do not primarily perform surgery based on the types of surgery they provide."

Still, he said it was confusing how the state would apply the law to Planned Parenthood’s Kansas City center, which doesn’t do surgical abortions. Instead, it gives women the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug.

Smith said the law should probably apply to the Colombia abortion center.

Pam Fichter, the head of Missouri Right to Life, told LifeNews.com she is very disappointed by the ruling.

"Although the Kansas City abortion clinic claims to induce abortions only through drugs, the drugs are dangerous," Fichter said. "They often require surgical intervention because of incomplete abortions, severe bleeding, and other adverse consequences."

She said findings from the FDA show that "approximately one in 12 women need surgical care, sometimes on an emergency basis, after taking the abortion drugs."

Missouri already requires abortion facilities to be licensed by the state health department but only one — a Planned Parenthood center in St. Louis — meets the current requirements for licensing. The new law would heighten requirements for all centers.

Under the law, abortion centers would be monitored by the Department of Health and Senior Services as ambulatory surgical clinics, which must meet higher standards for both the facility and staff.

That designation applies to any abortion center where second or third-trimester abortions are done as well as places that do more than five first-trimester abortions a month.