Missouri has one abortion clinic, but that is about to change.
After Planned Parenthood won an initial victory against a Missouri law this week, the abortion chain announced plans to open four abortion clinics in the state.
A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood Great Plains told reporters that they plan to begin doing abortions at their Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield and Joplin locations in the near future.
A number abortion facilities stopped doing abortions in Missouri in the past 10 years, because they could not or would not meet state health and safety regulations. The Planned Parenthood abortion chain filed a lawsuit challenging the regulations in November.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs granted Planned Parenthood’s request to block the regulations, arguing that they hurt women’s access to abortion. The laws require abortionists to have hospital admitting privileges for patient emergency situations, and abortion facilities to meet standards similar to other ambulatory surgical facilities.
The ruling means Planned Parenthood can expand its abortion practices again in Missouri.
Jesse Lawder, a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood affiliate in St. Louis, said they plan to provide abortion drugs at their Springfield and Joplin locations. KTTS Radio reports this will be the first time the Springfield Planned Parenthood offers abortions.
“We have some work yet to do, but we’d like to make these services available to members of the community as soon as possible,” Lawder told the Joplin Globe.
It appears that the Columbia and Kansas City Planned Parenthoods will provide abortion drugs again, too; however, it is not clear if they also will do surgical abortions.
Here’s more from KY3 News:
[Lawder] said a doctor has been picked for the clinics in southwest Missouri but some final steps remain. Lawder says Planned Parenthood would not be able to offer abortions without the injunction from Sachs.
Missouri Right to Life Legislative Liaison Susan Klein called the judge’s ruling “egregious.”
“Judge Sachs is giving a dangerous stamp of approval to Planned Parenthood’s history of having rusty equipment, dirty tables, expired drugs and untrained personnel offering services,” Klein said. “These infractions are in public inspection reports of the Planned Parenthood in St Louis. This same Planned Parenthood has had at least 69 emergency ambulance calls since 2009.”
The state regulations have helped to saved thousands of unborn babies’ lives since they passed in 2005. Many abortion facilities closed, dropping from seven in 2005 to two in 2014, because they could not or would not comply with the safety regulations. Abortion numbers also dropped steadily after the laws went into effect.
The Planned Parenthood in St. Louis currently is the only abortion facility in the state. It has developed a terrible reputation, sending at least 69 women to the hospital in ambulances since 2009, according to Operation Rescue. State inspection reports between 2009 and 2016 also showed more than 200 health and safety violations that endangered women’s health.
The Planned Parenthood in Columbia had to stop doing abortions in 2015 after its abortionist lost admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens said they will appeal the judge’s ruling.
“Missouri is a pro-life state,” Greitens said on Twitter. “We will beat this on appeal and keep fighting every day to protect the innocent unborn.”
State Attorney General Josh Hawley said Sachs’ decision was wrong, and the state will continue fighting to protect women’s health and safety.
“Today a federal court struck down large portions of Missouri law that protect the health and safety of women who seek to obtain an abortion,” Hawley said Wednesday. “Missouri has an obligation to do everything possible to ensure the health and safety of women undergoing medical procedures in state licensed medical facilities.”
Klein said pro-lifers in the state will continue to work with lawmakers to protect people who will be harmed by the judge’s ruling.