Columbia, Missouri Planned Parenthood Resumes Abortions

State   Steven Ertelt   Jan 26, 2012   |   1:11PM    Columbia, MO

The Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Columbia, Missouri was forced to stop doing abortions because the abortion practitioner who worked there was called to active military duty. They are now resuming.

The new comes as Missouri residents are celebrating a 9.4 percent drop in abortions in 2010.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has appointed a new abortion practitioner and abortions will resume starting next month, officials with the abortion business told The Missourian newspaper. Michelle Trupiano, a representative of Planned Parenthood, told the paper it is too early to tell if more abortions will be done following the merger between the Jefferson City location and the Columbia facility.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri told media outlets in September that abortions were done at the Columbia center until last week and they are normally done there two to three times a month when a traveling abortion practitioner comes to town. Trupiano also indicated abortions had to be suspended a couple of times in 2010 when the abortion practitioner was not available to come to Columbia.

“Though we regret the unfortunate impact for central Missouri women who want and need abortion care, we’re proud of our physician’s service to our country,”  Peter Brownlie, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said in a statement at that time. “This is a temporary suspension of abortion services, and we will resume providing those services as soon as possible.”

Without an abortion practitioner, the facility had been referring women to other abortion facilities in Missouri and Kansas.

Sam Lee, the director of Campaign Life Missouri, a pro-life organization, told LifeNews he was delighted abortions had stopped, at least temporarily.

“With 40 Days for Life getting ready to start in Columbia and throughout the nation, God is already doing marvelous things by shutting down one of Missouri’s two remaining abortion clinics,” he said. “This particular Planned Parenthood facility has had great difficulty in getting a replacement abortionist, so we are hoping that it is a long time before they are open again for abortion business.”

Lee said the number of abortion centers will continue to decline as fewer physicians are willing to do abortions.

“The weak link in the abortion industry is the lack of abortion doctors,”  Lee said.  “This clinic recently underwent extensive renovation in order to continue doing abortions – as required by a court settlement – but it makes no difference now because no doctor is willing to step forward to do abortions.”

“This is a testament to the perseverance of local grassroots pro-life folks who have kept the pressure on by their frequent prayer vigils and picketing,” said Lee.  “Because of their public witness, no local doctor wants to perform abortions in Columbia.”

In July, Missouri Gov, Jay Nixon, who supports legalized abortion, let a ban on late-term abortions become law without either signing the bill or issuing a veto of it — likely because the legislature approved it on a wide margin. That bill is expected to drive down the number of abortions further.

The ban would limit late-term abortions to instances when the mother’s life is in danger or when continuation of the pregnancy would result in significant health risks to the mother.  The legislation would essentially put an end to post-viability abortions performed for reasons of “mental health” or”emotional distress.” The statute would impose major criminal penalties on doctors who perform illegal late-term abortions.  Doctors who violate the law would face jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of their license to practice medicine.

Joe Ortwerth, the executive director for the Missouri Family Policy Council, which pushed for the pro-life legislation, talked with LifeNews.com about it becoming law.

“Healthy viable preborn children in Missouri will no longer be vulnerable to the beastly practice of late-term abortion.  This new law serves notice to doctors who specialize in this barbaric business:  Destroy the lives of innocent viable unborn children, and your days in the operating room are over,” he said.

Pam Fichter, president of Missouri Right to Life, also commented on the decision.

“During the 2011 Legislative Session, the Missouri Senate and House each took up and passed their respective bills banning late-term abortions after 20 weeks gestation except when continuation of the pregnancy will create a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant mother,” she explained. “Today, as he did on the 2010 pro-life legislation, Governor Nixon allowed this legislation to become law.  Per the Missouri Constitution, Governor Nixon’s decision to neither veto nor sign HB 213 and SB 65 is a decision to allow these bills to go into effect.”

“Because of Governor Nixon’s decision, Missouri law now protects babies in their last trimester before birth from the slaughter of abortion.  This decision saves lives and protects women from the risks of a late-term abortion.  Missouri Right to Life has worked hard for years to find ways to protect innocent human lives and women in crisis pregnancies,” Fichter added. “While we are pleased to see the steps taken in HB 213 and SB 65, we still have much to do to restore the inalienable right to life recognized by our founders.”